Art in the province of Zamora

catedraldezamoraThe importance that the province of Zamora began to acquire within the Kingdom is reflected in an outstanding collection of buildings which renders the province a treasure trove of Spanish mediaeval architecture.

The streets of the provincial capital contain dozens of buildings in the Romanesque style, constituting the most important urban centre in Spain for this type of art. Construction was begun on the cathedral of Zamora in 1151, and it is characterized by its impressive dome and Byzantine-style cantilevered cupola. Within this impressive cast of religious buildings in Zamora, the church of Santa María de la Magdalena stands out. Built between the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, it boasts a beautiful apse and an extraordinary Romanesque sepulchre. iglesiasanciprianoSan Cipriano is another church worthy of mention, dating from the 11th century. Possibly the oldest church in the city, it later underwent a series of alterations but the original Hispanic-Visigoth style flat apses are striking. Another emblematic building is the church of San isidoro, built towards the end of the 12th century, the most attractive feature of which is its completely intact interior. Any visit to Zamora should not omit the castle, built in the mid-11th century, in the times of Fernando I, or the mediaeval bridge.

colegiasantamarialamayortoroThe town of Toro was another important bastion and, as such, contains a series of important churches of the period. The Basilica of Santa María la Mayor was built in the times of Fernando II of León, in the 12th century, and exhibits an impressive dome similar to that of the cathedral of Zamora or the cathedral of Salamanca. Another of the great attractions offered by Toro are its Mudéjar churches, comprising the 12th century church of San Salvador, the church of San Lorenzo el Real, built in the 12th and 13th centuries and the 13th century church of Nuestra Señora de la Vega. From its mediaeval past, Toro also conserves a beautiful bridge over the Duero River.

Benavente was one of the key cities in the history of the Kingdom of León.santamariademoreruela The famous Law (Fuero) granted in 1164 by Fernando II to Benavente is well-known. From the times of Fernando II, who appeared to have had a certain predilection for Benavente, date its two remaining Romanesque churches, the church of Santa María del Azogue, dating from 1180, and that of San Juan del Mercado, begun in 1181.

The monastery of Santa María de Moreruela lies between Benavente and Zamora, and is a further example of the beautiful Romanesque style which found expression in the province of Zamora. Dating from the 12th century, it was one of the Cistercian centres of the period. The monastery church dates from the end of the 12th century and conserves an apse of unquestionable beauty.

The church of Santa Marta de Tera is one of the oldest Romanesque churches in Spain, dating from the times of Alfonso VI, more specifically, to the year 1077. The apse is especially noteworthy, enhanced by the two columns which flank it and the three blind openings into the wall. In the same area, the church of Santa María de Tábara and the monastery of San Martín de Castañeda should also be mentioned.



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