The Romanesque city
Portray of the Destination
Zamora, located on the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula on the banks of the Douro River, is considered by tourists to be one of the most beautiful cities in the Autonomous Region of Castile and Leon. Throughout the province, we can find Romanesque works considered true jewels, such as the Colegiata del Toro – El Toro Collegiate Church-, the beautiful churches of Benavente, the Monastery of San Martín de Castañeda, the imposing ruins of the Monastery of Moreruela, the church of the ancient monastery of Santa Marta de Tera, etc...
It is not in vain that the city of Zamora preserves some twenty 11th and 12th century buildings which doubtlessly make it the city with more Romanesque remains within Spain. Known as the Romanesque capital due to the great number of monuments that border its streets and squares, including the beautiful Cathedral. Surrounding the city, at a very short distance, there are towns and villages with valuable monuments such as La Hiniesta, El Perdigón and important pottery centers like Pereruela.
There are also lands of vineyards and wine with luscious orchards: the gateway to one of the most splendorous mediaeval cities in Castile and León.
We would like to thank the Zamora City Council for the information and pictures provided.
Taking into account the fact that tourism is of great importance for Spain, the security of travellers is a real priority in the country. Nevertheless it is still necessary to apply the general advice given to tourists who travel everywhere. Thus, it is recommended, when strolling, to carry with you only the money needed for each outing and not all your funds, as well as being extra careful in crowded places to avoid purse snatching.
Health Care Services
The health care system in Spain is generally good. To that respect, there is no alert whatsoever. Visitors must just be careful with the sunshine, which can cause sunstroke. It is worth mentioning, however, that Spain has a wide network of health centers which provide medical service in both primary care and specialized assistance.
The main means of transport in Zamora is the bus, since the town is located at the intersection of various roads which connect it to the rest of the villages and towns all over the peninsula. Also worth mentioning are the railway services and taxis that will be at your disposal any time you wish to pay a visit to the city. You can also contact the taxi station in the following address: Camino Espíritu Santo, 2 Province: Zamora. Municipality: ZAMORA 49026 Telephone: +34 630 630 630
Address of the main car rental offices:
Avda. de Manoteras, 32 – Edificio C,
Tel: +34 902 480 354,
Tel: +34 902 180 854,
Fax: `+34 902 180 760,
Tel: +34 902 248 824
Fax: +34 913 480 220.
Hertz: Tel. +34 917 499 373, Fax:+34 (91)509-737, open from Monday till Sunday from 8 AM to 11 PM.
The Spanish phone code is 34 and the Zamora code is 980. To make a phone call to another country you must first dial 00 and then the international code of the country you would like to call to and finally dial the subscriber phone number. For phone calls within Spain a special code is not required. The mobile phone technology used in the Spanish territory is GSM but, in many cases, it is not compatible with some of the technologies used in other countries like the United States and Japan, for example.
The most important mobile phone operators are Amena – www.amena.es
-, Movistar/Telefónica Móviles -www.movistar.tsm.es
- and Vodafone-www.vodafone.es
-. Telephone booths are very common along the streets and they work with coins or phone cards. There are also the called locutorios, they are establishments with many phone booths, where coins or cards are not needed, just pay in cash the phone call after the conversation. In many of this kind of places it is also possible to send and receive faxes and there are computers with internet connection as well.
220 volts, 50 mhz. Sockets are usually for two round pin plugs.
Yes:si. No:no. Hello:hola. Good bye:adios. Good morning:buenos días. Good afternoon:buenas tardes. Good night:buenas noches. Please:por favor. Sorry:lo siento. Thank you:gracias. Doctor:médico. Pharmacy:farmacia. Numbers: 1:un. 2:dos. 3:tres. 4:cuatro. 5:cinco. 6:seis. 7:siete. 8:ocho. 9:nueve. 10:diez. 11:once. 12:doce. 13:trece. 14:catorce. 15:quince. 16:dieciséis. 17:diecisiete. 18:dieciocho. 19:diecinueve. 20:veinte. 21:veintiuno. 22:veintidós. 30:treinta. 40:cuarenta. 50:cincuenta. 60:sesenta. 70:setenta. 80:ochenta. 90:noventa. 100:cien. 1000:mil. Days of the week: Monday:lunes. Tuesday:martes. Wednesday:miércoles. Thursday:jueves. Friday:viernes. Saturday:sábado. Sunday:domingo. Common words: big/small:grande/pequeño. Hot/Cold:caliente/frío. Open/Clossed:abierto/cerrado. Good/bad: bueno/malo. New/old:nuevo/viejo. Push/Pull:empujar/tirar. Entrance/exit:entrada/salida. Ladies/Gentlemen:señoras/señores. Far/near:lejos/cerca. Left/Right:izquierda/derecha. Taxi:taxi. Bus:autobús. Meals: Breakfast:desayuno. Lunch:comida. Dinner:cena. Menu:menú. Wines:vinos. Dessert:postre. The bill:la cuenta. Common sentences: Do you speak English?:¿Habla inglés?. I don´t understand:no entiendo. where is it?:¿donde está? How much is it?:¿Cuánto es? What time is it?:¿Qué hora es? Could you help me?:¿Puede ayudarme?
There is no airport in Zamora.
The European Union tourists do not need visa to enter into Spain. Neither those citizens of the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and the rest of the Latin American countries, though a return ticket must be bought. Travelers from Australia, Anguilla, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, South Korea, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Helena, Singapore and Turk & Caicos do not either need visa provided that they do not stay more than 90 days in Spain.
When to go
Tradition and local customs necessarily go hand in hand with celebrations and festivities, and in the province of Zamora this aspect is incomparably rich and varied. No end of activities to share all year round, where you will find a welcoming environment in its streets and its people making it attractive to visit in every season of the year.
“Romería del Cristo de Valderrey” (Easter Monday). Great popular festivity in the woods of Valorio, in the outskirts of the city.
“Romería de la Virgen de la Concha” (Pentecost Monday), patron saint of the city.
San Pedro (29th of June). Fair and Festivities of Zamora, with countless popular activities in the streets. On those days the famous Traditional Pottery Fair takes place – where potters from all over the country participate – and the “Feria del Ajo” (Garlic Fair), garlic being the typical Zamoran seasoning.
It varies from Atlantic climate in the north to Mediterranean in the east. During the summer, mainly in the months of July and August, the temperature is very high all over the country. The central areas of the Iberian Peninsula suffer the extreme temperature in summer and the dry and cold ones in winter. The average annual temperature is between 12º C and 13º C, since it is part of the north subplateau on the northern region of the peninsula.
It is recommended to carry warm clothes in both winter and summer, since in the evenings the weather usually becomes chilly.
Euro, divided into 100 cents. The bank notes are: 500, 200, 100, 50, 20,10 and 5 Euros. The coins are: 1 and 2 Euros and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
1 Euro (EUR) = 1,20 Dollar (USD); 1 Euro (EUR) = 0.68 Sterling Pounds (GBP).
Useful phone numbers
- Police : 092
- Ambulance : 112
- Fire Brigade : 080
- Tourist health care services : 112
"The fenced city"
Located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, it is part of the Autonomous Region of Castile and Leon, one of the seventeen autonomous regions of the Spanish State. It covers a surface area of 10.5 sq. km, with an average altitude of 652 m above sea level and a population of 65,633 inhabitants. The climate is basically continental.
Zamora preserves a treasured, well maintained historical-artistic heritage, and proof of this it is the name by which the capital city is known, with no exaggeration: The City of the Romanesque. It is considered to be the city where more Romanesque churches can be seen. A city where the past and the present live together in perfect harmony. Its notable characteristics are many, among which we should mention: Art, present in most of the towns; Nature, whimsical in this land where the passage from one area to another is marked by an interesting diversity of landscapes as well as of tradition and local customs, both in the festivities and the cuisine.
We would like to thank the Zamora City Council for the information and photographs provided.
Cathedral of Zamora
It is, without doubt, one of the city’s most emblematic and visited monuments, as well as one of the most beautiful of that period. It was built in the 12th century, beginning in 1151, and it was consecrated in 1174.
It keeps one of its Romanesque gates, the “Puerta del Obispo” (the Bishop Gate), on its southern side. The Latin cross ground plan shows three naves, with a groin vault in the lateral wings and a barrel vault pointing to the arms of the transept. The central nave has a simple ribbed vault. In the middle of the vault stands the ciborium, of Byzantine influence and with stone slabs. It is the most beautiful part of the building and it has been praised by critics and historians alike.
In the 13th century the high solid tower was added. The Cloister was rebuilt in the 17th Century, with a staircase inside that leads to the “Cathedral Museum”.
Once we enter, the first thing we come across is the Major Chappel. The main altarpiece dates back to the 18th Century and was designed by Ventura Rodríguez. Also it is interesting the altarpiece of “Nuestra Señora de la Majestad”, in which we can see the Gothic sculpture of “La Virgen Calva” (The Bald Virgin), thus named because of her wide forehead.
The choir was designed by Juan de Bruselas and it belongs to the late Gothic style. It has two stories divided in three sides. The upper seats show carvings of the apostles, saints and reliefs of popular legends. The lower seats represent patriarchs, kings and prophets and on the arms of the chairs are remarkable reliefs of grotesque scenes and profane motifs.
The Wall and Gateways
The name “La bien cercada” -the fenced city- is given because it is a city defended by three walled enclosures. The first of them shelters various canvases, some gates and the Castle. It extends from the present Plaza Mayor and dates back to the 11th century. The Castle is surrounded by a moat and gardens with a view of the neighbouring districts and the “Vega del Duero”- The Douro Meadow-.
Following the wall we reach the “Postigo de la Traición” -The Betrayal Wicket-, consisting in a semicircular arch rich in history. Further on we find the gate of the Mercadillo, of which only one turret is preserved. The wall continues along “San Martín” and “Ronda de Santa María la Nueva” until it reaches the “Puerta de Zambranos” -Zambranos Gateway-, also known as “Arco de Doña Urraca” -Doña Urraca Arch-, which corresponds to the second half of the 12th century. From there it continues towards the “Plaza Mayor” to the probable emplacement of the already disappeared gateway “Puerta Nueva de San Juan”, descending along the Calle Balborraz towards San Cipriano and San Idelfonso, where two gateways used to be. After this, we find the crags of Santa Marta up to finally reaching the Puerta del Obispo -The Bishop Gateway-, which used to be called “Olivares” or “Optima”. Next to it the so called El Cid's House stands.
The second enclosure stretched to the current “Plaza de la Farola” and a few of its canvases have been preserved. The third one reached the so called “barrios bajos”(lower districts). This enclosure dates back to the 13th century.
Museum of Zamora
The Palace of El Cordón was established to house the museum at the beginning of the 1980’s. This palace is one of the most interesting works of the Zamora province’s Civil Architecture of the early 16th century. The characteristic feature of its stately façade is its frontispiece on whose upper section we can see the coat of arms of the owners, the Counts of Puñoenrostro.
The Museum is distributed into two sections: Archaeology, centered on the Province’s history, and Fine Arts, exhibiting artistic sculpture and painting works from the 14th century through the 20th century.
Museum of the Holy Week
For many years the Holy Week Committee, specially some of the religious brotherhoods belonging to it, were greatly worried about not having an adequate place to properly store and safely keep the sculptural images for the Holy Week processions, since it was precisely these brotherhoods with eight or more sacred images the ones that had some old, inadequate storage rooms, with frequent leaks and at risk of fire or collapse.
For this reason, during the meeting of the Holy Week Committee that took place on June 3rd 1957, they expressed the urgent need to build a museum for the conservation and exhibition of the images. Created by the Holy Week Committee, the museum houses most of the images paraded in the Holy Week processions of Zamora.
The Committee resolved to erect the building with the support of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Zamora.
On September 9th, 1964 the museum opened its doors to the Zamoran citizens. On July 20th, 1972 they bought the adjacent property, though not connected to it, and it is there where the archive of the Committee and of the different brotherhoods is now safely kept.
As the years passed, with the acquisition of new processional pieces, it became urgently necessary to enlarge the Museum. For this purpose in 1990 the Committee acquired a house with its yard and an adjacent plot which, between the two of them, sum a total area or 435 m2 of halls, offices, meetings hall and restoration workshop.
The 25th of February of 1994 the Holy Week Museum was reinaugurated. This is what enabled the creation of this unusual museum, probably the only one in Spain, which includes now 33 sculptural groups, tunics and vestments of the different brotherhoods, thanks to the enthusiasm of a great number of Zamorans, making it one of the most interesting places to visit in the city, and one that should not be missed.
Palace of the Momos
Built by D. Pedro de Ledesma at the beginning of the 16th century, it suffered the downfall of its foundations in times of Charles II. Only the façade of this building stands, and on the site was erected what is today the “Palacio de Justicia” (Court of Justice).
"Hospital de Encarnación"
Building of the 17th century which is now the seat of the Provincial Council. It was founded by D. Pedro Morán Pereira. Before this, it had been a hospital, an orphanage, a school and even a prision.