Location

Salamanca
Type of route:
Monumental

Castles and fortresses

This route covers a part of Salamanca that used to be a combat zone and a place where battles on the border took place. On this fascinating cultural route you can discover walls, forts and castles that have been there since the Celtic period. This route tells us about the history of several defensive structures.

This route is ideal for doing over a weekend. The starting point is Ciudad Rodrigo, located approximately one hour by car from the city of Salamanca. The old quarter is surrounded by over two kilometres of walls dating from the middle of the 12th century. Their current appearance is the result of the reformation and extension work which took place between 1707 and 1710. The fortress of Henry II of Trastámara was built in the 14th century at the highest point of the historic quarter, and is today the site of the Parador hotel. Ciudad Rodrigo has numerous other monuments worth visiting, many of which date from Renaissance times, such as the Cerralbo chapel, the town hall and the palaces of Los Castro and Las Águilas. Particularly impressive is the cathedral of Santa María, built in 1165 as part of the city's system of defences. It is a predominantly Romanesque and Gothic building, although it has later additions dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. It is also worth stopping off in the village of Castillejo de Martín Viejo, at a distance of about 15 kilometres, to visit the Siega Verde prehistoric rock site , awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO. This is the most important ensemble of open-air Palaeolithic art in Castile-León, and features 645 prehistoric rock engravings of animals and symbols, and an archaeology classroom. From here we continue on for another 10 kilometres until we reach a local road which takes us to Aldea del Obispo, the site of the fort of La Concepción, a military compound built between 1736 and 1762. We then return to Castillejo de Martín Viejo to take the road towards San Felices de los Gallegos, about 18 kilometres away. Highlights of the historic-artistic site and its mediaeval walled enclosure include the castle, which houses the visitor centre for the route of the frontier fortifications. We then come to Lumbrales. The fort of Las Merchanas is located in its municipal district, beside the Camaces river. This fortified settlement was built by the Vettons, a people with a Celtic culture, and was inhabited until Roman times (between the 5th century B.C. to the 5th century A.D.). It is reached by means of a brief detour. Once again back on the road we head towards the village of Saldeana. This is the site of another important Vetton settlement, the fort of El Castillo, set atop an imposing canyon within the Arribes del Duero nature reserve. We leave Saldeana behind to head towards Yecla de Yeltes, about 20 kilometres away. This area is home to the fort of Yecla la Vieja, also built by the Vettons and dating from the 5th century B.C., and which continued to be inhabited until the 12th century. The visitor centre for this site is located in the town of Yecla de Yeltes.



Activities

  • Cycle touring
  • Hiking

Route



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