Ledesma, which can be found 30 mins away from Salamanca, on the west of Spain, is the town of bridges. It has six of them crossing the three rivers that surround the city. You can imagine how important this site was in ancient times, being the only place where one could cross the great river Tormes. Three of these bridges have Roman origins, but a nearby menhir (from Neolithic Era) and a stone pig attest a very ancient occupation. This occupation has never been interrupted, and every epoch has left its print on the village. Today, Ledesma has been chosen among the most beautiful towns in Spain. Do you want to know why?
There are many things to visit in this cozy town. You can start with the castle and the many, many palaces. The entrance to the castle is for free, and you just have to ask for the keys at the coffee shop in Plaza de la Fortaleza square. When you walk here, think of the many tunnels that lie underneath it, created to serve as water channels, secret escape ways, and cellars. While you are there, do not forget to take a photo next to the verraco. These are very common in the area. Typical from a Celtic tribe (VIII to V BCE), they represent bulls or pigs made of stone. In the XIXth century, many of them were thrown to the Tormes, both in Ledesma and in the nearby city of Salamanca- who knows why. Some appeared after some time -like this one, a sturdy survivor! Next to it, the city walls (all 3 kilometers of them!) are mostly medieval. From the Moorish epoch, there are not so many remainders: the Christians that conquered the city saw it being destroyed. The story of Nicolasín, the son of a local Moorish chief is one of the few things that survived. He converted to Christianism and hence was martyrized.
The city hall is also of interest. And last but not least, the churches -after all, you are in Spain, churches are a must! The most picturesque is the church of Santa Elena, outside the city walls. From there, you can head to the bridges. A couple of them are inside the city, but the most beautiful ones, in my opinion, are 3 and 5 kilometers away. One is the Puente Mocho (which is Spanish for crooked). It still has some remarkable remains of the Roman road that led to it. In fact, for centuries, it was used for the cattle to pass twice a year: in winter to go south, to escape from the snow, and in summer to go north, looking for the green pastures. This is why Ledesma grew to be so important: it was a vital crossroads. The other bridge, by the way, is the Puente of Peñacerracín.
The most famous food from Ledesma is the rosquillas (doughnuts). There are even places that teach tourists how to bake them! But also, we are in the Castilian countryside, so the meat is amazing too. There is also the typical hornazo, which consists of three layers of different kinds of meat inside puff pastry. In order not to feel guilty after a banquet like this, I recommend participating in one -or more- of the many activities that the city offers: trekking routes, canoeing, climbing, etc.
Ledesma offers all these, and yet it is not very known to the touristic crowds. Hence, if you are in Salamanca, do not miss the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful towns in Spain!
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