The Silver Route
National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida
Walls, Episcopal Palace and Cathedral in Astorga. León
Revillagigedo Palace. Gijón
Béjar city walls. Salamanca
- Type of route:
- Great routes
The Silver Route
From South to North
The Vía de la Plata was the cornerstone, from the 1st century until the 19th, on which new paths and roads were built, and during the medieval period it took on greater importance with the cattle tracks, which the 'Mesta' (farmer's council) used to drive its flocks from one area of pasture to another. For this reason, the Vía de la Plata route is an exceptional historical and artistic legacy because of the art and civilization which were created along its length, with the building of cities, circuses, temples, aqueducts, bridges, arches and fortresses, in addition to the encouragement of the development of rich traditional architecture, folklore, handicrafts, etc.
The route begins in Seville, the ancient city of Hispalis. From there, passing through the ruins of Itálica, ancient city of Roman Baetica, the route takes us through Zafra and Almendralejo to Mérida, the so-called Hispanic Rome. It continues its course to Cáceres and Plasencia. Now in the lands of Castile, the route moves inwards to Béjar and Salamanca. Still heading north, we arrive at Zamora and, through fields of cereals and lakes, to Benavente and on to Astorga and León. Campomanes and Pola de Lena are the first landmarks in Asturias which will take us on towards Oviedo and Gijón, the end point of its long journey.
Since the distant past there has been a route between mountains, valleys and plains, which unites the north and south of Spain, where, in the lower basin of the Guadalquivir, the first great western culture flourished, under the mythical monarchy of Tartessos at the end of the Bronze Age. Thanks to its great mining wealth, the area took on great significance as a producer of precious metals. When the Romans invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 218 BC, they gave great importance to roads to cover the whole territory, with the Vía de la Plata, a road which links Gijón with Seville via Astorga, León, Salamanca and Mérida, being one of the most important.