Castilla Y Leon consists of nine Provinces: Avila, Burgos, Leon, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid and Zamora.
Castilla y Leon is not only the largest region of Spain, but as well the largest region of all the European Union. The elevated plain is limited by the mountain ranges Sistema Iberico to the east, Cordillera Central to the south, Cordillera Cantabrica to the north and by the Duero River towards Portugal.
Castilla y Leon came together in 1983, when the regions of Castilla la Vieja and Leon were united. Both have been central areas of Spanish medieval history, and the importance during that epoch is still evident in many cathedrals, monasteries, castles and fortified towns, many of which are preserved in perfect state. Apart from its great monumental patrimony, Castilla y Leon also offers natural parks and kilometres of practically virginal nature, with woods of oaks and cork-oaks.
Salamanca: Salamanca’s great historical importance is due to its University, one of the oldest of Europe. It is a city of outstanding beauty and rich cultural heritage.
Segovia: Segovia’s most famous monument is certainly its colossal Roman aqueducts which dominate the town. Additional attractions include the Alcazar and the Gothic cathedral.
Avila: In the 11th century Avila was founded to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors. Known as the “City of Saints and Stones”, it is the highest city of Spain and possesses the longest city walls. Extending for 2,500 meters (8202 ft.) and encircling the old town, the massive walls are punctuated by ninety, heavily fortified stone towers. The Basilica De San Vicente, Saint Vincent’s Church is another perfect example of Avila’s monuments as is Saint Theresa’s Church and Saint Peter’s Church, built in Romanesque style.
Burgos: Birthplace of El Cid. The tomb of El Cid lies in the city’s Gothic cathedral, a building of exceptional beauty, and one of the country’s largest. Leon: Formerly the capital of the Kingdom of León, it gave its name to the Community. The city’s most famous monuments are its great Gothic cathedral, the church Basilica de San Isidoro with valuable Romanesque frescoes, and the San Marcos church of Renaissance period. Close to Leon are the legendary Roman gold mines Las Medulas.
Zamora: Zamora is a beautiful medieval town with a magnificent cathedral and several great Romanesque churches. Nearby there are the 8th century Visigoth church San Pedro de la Nave, and Lago de Sanabria, the largest lake in Spain and the only one of glacial origins.
Valladolid: Has one of the most important sculpture museums in Spain, and is also the home of the famous Easter week processions. The city itself is valladolidmonumental, and in its surroundings there are innumerable castles. This region is where Christopher Columbus and Cervantes lived; their houses can still be seen in Valladolid. The famous writer, Miguel Cervantes also had his home here and this has now been turned into a museum in his memory.
Soria: Among its many civil and religious buildings are many Romanesque structures. Among the major attractions are the beautiful cathedral and churches such as the Church of Santo Domingo, the Church of San Pedro and Cloister of San Juan de Duero. The cathedral town of the province is El Burgo de Osma and is the third largest municipality in the province of Soria. Nearby are the ruins of Numantia, an ancient settlement that played a central role in the Celt-Iberian resistance to Roman conquest.
Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of Roman camps and evidence of settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Palencia: A medieval town with outstanding Romanesque monuments. Among the major attractions are the beautiful cathedral and the interesting archaeological museum. One of the other major attractions of this area is the Natural Park of Fuentes Carrionas and Fuente Cobre, they are located in the most remote and inaccessible border lands. They contain many lakes of glacial origin and are almost unknown. Here you will find a brown bear population which is protected by The Servicio Territorial de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Castilla y Leon.
Food and Cuisine of the Region: Distinguished by excellent meat, especially lamb, and its vegetables. Castilla y León is a traditional farming and agricultural land where an enormous variety of Spanish foods are produced, pulses like the famous creamy beans of Avila, white haricot beans – alubias blancas of Barco de Ávila; the chickpeas of Fuentesauco; and the lentils La Armuña. Many local dishes consist of a variety of wholesome, one-pot pulse/legume stews. Cheeses of the area include Burgos; a hard cheese from Páramo de Masa; a cottage cheese from Sedano; plus cheeses from Villalón and Armada. The area is also known for its crusty white bread or pan de pueblo, milk-fed lambs and fresh water fish. Local dishes include: cochinillo asado a la segoviana – roast suckling pig, truchas en arcilla – clay-baked trout and sopa de almendras a la castellana – an almond soup.