The region of Castilla and León has stunning (and touristic!) capitals -Segovia, Salamanca, León. However, there is another city that should be added to this list: Zamora. Its city center was built upon a big rock and was guarded by the river Duero already in the Celtic times. Its name, which sounds very exotic, comes from the Arabic Semurah, meaning “city of the turquoises.” It is the European city with most buildings from the Romanesque period: 25 churches, a castle, a bridge, and some palaces and houses. Plus, since it is not very touristic, the price of good food is very affordable. Let’s discover more about Zamora!
The best view over Zamora is from the other side of the river, in a place called "Los Pelambres." From here, the city looks like a postcard. Sunsets there are magnificent and can be enjoyed while sipping a glass of wine at the terrace of the bar. Nevertheless, let’s go inside the city. The first thing that captures the visitor’s eye is the rock that overlooks the Duero river. The town was built on top of it- some 30m above. This fact made the site very strategic. Zamora was Celtic, Roman, Germanic, Arabic, and finally, Castilian. For many years it was the most important city on the border between the Muslims and the Christians. Nevertheless, every time it was so hard to conquer, that a saying was created: "you can't conquer Zamora in an hour."
En una hora no se ganó Zamora (La Celestina, VI, 221)
It was during this period where most of the churches were built. All of them are very beautiful: they are small and delicately built. Nevertheless, the most impressive one is the cathedral. Its central tower is really unique, with scales around it. The cathedral can be found next to the castle. Both have been recently restored, together with the city walls, so the stones look very shiny! The visitor can walk around this unique space for free. From there, you can spot the zamorana plain, beyond the river.
In Zamora, it is very popular to eat “pinchos”- small tapas. For each glass of beer or wine, you get one pincho at a reduced price. Be careful; this formula is addictive! There are two areas in Zamora: the “Lobos” and the “Herreros.” They are both in the city center, and you can walk from one to the next. Some bars are specialized in only one pincho, but that only means that this one is particularly tasty! The “Herreros” area is also very popular at night. The most typical bars are: "El Lobo", "Sevilla", "Bambú", "Bayadoliz", "El Caballero", "La Revuelta", "Merlú"... actually, there are so many!
There is a period of the year where Zamora gets really crowded: that's, of course, at Easter. In this city, there's a huge tradition of processions. Everybody belongs to one fraternity -they disguise themselves with tunics and cover their faces with a conic hat. If you want to see them, you need to find a spot hours before; otherwise, you won’t see anything. By the way, if you want to look like a local, it is very typical to eat sunflower seeds while waiting. For the locals, it is a very emotional moment. For the tourists, it is something worth living at least once!
Zamora is the capital of the province with the same name. Especially towards the border, there is a natural park called “Arribes del Duero,” where the river goes through beautiful canyons. Again, not very touristic, but it really should be! Don't miss out on exploring that majestic area!
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