Published on : Thursday, December 19, 2013
World Heritage Cities of Spain Group was created in 1993 with the aim of preserving and promoting the vast cultural heritage in its possession. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the joint work of these cities, Spain Tourism turns its attention to these 13 jewels which are undoubtedly some of Spain’s treasures; a compendium of the best our country has to offer: historical heritage, culture and varied gastronomy. Those who have the honour of living in one of the World Heritage Cities have the added advantage of enjoying a special way of life due to the leisure activities on offer.
Mérida and Tarragona: The Roman Cities
Both were declared World Heritage Sites due to their extraordinary Roman archaeological complexes and the importance they had as the capitals of Lusitania and Hispania Citerior. In Mérida, the traveller can rub shoulders with the most splendid Roman legacy of the Iberian Peninsula and admire the buildings and ruins of the Spanish-Visigoth, Islamic and late-medieval Christian kingdom periods.
From the legacy of the Roman city of Tarraco, Tarragona is a city that grew under the auspices of César, Augusto and Vespasiano and became the capital of the most important province of Roman Hispania in the early 2nd century, 14 monuments have been declared World Heritage sites.
Segovia and Toledo: The kings’ favourite cities
Favoured by the Trastámara and the Habsburg dynasties for establishing their royal residences, they endowed and enriched them with wonderful works of art which can still be visited today. Segovia’s 15-metre long aqueduct is a symbol of identity and an unmistakable emblem of the city. And let’s not forget Segovia’s cultural offering, which is truly amazing all year round and is the perfect complement to this fairy tale setting.
Toledo is a favourite among foreign travellers. Perhaps because it encapsulates what Spain is all about: a melting pot of cultures and races which, in this rocky mass bordered by the Tajo, was the light of the west. Today the city welcomes as many visitors as these visitors have snapshots of the city.
Salamanca and Alcalá: The university cities
Alma Mater of Hispanic universities and with the forthcoming celebration of its 8th centenary anniversary, Salamanca owes it universal fame to its Estudio General. The thousands of students that fill its classrooms give the Spanish city a cosmopolitan air and a unique colour, as evidenced by its crowded tapas bars, terraces and drinking holes. Alcalá’s greatest glory lies in the best-loved work of Cardinal Cisneros, namely the Complutense University, built in 1499 and splendidly developed in Alcalá until the mid-nineteenth century. The festival of Don Juan in Alcalá on 1 and 2 November is the perfect excuse to take a break in this heritage city which has earned itself a place in the cultural tourism league.
Ávila and Cáceres: The mystical and warlike cities
Ávila is on the brink of the celebrations for Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, also known as Santa Teresa de Jesus, who was one of the most prominent universal women in history. Ávila reveals a renewed image as a welcoming and open city, with numerous events filling its streets in the summer months. For Cáceres, housing one of Europe’s finest contemporary art collections, the Helga de Alvear Visual Arts Centre, offers tourists a contrast variety of treats.
San Cristóbal de La Laguna and Ibiza: The university cities
La Laguna is one of the Atlantic’s hidden gems. It was conceived and designed for peace, without walls and at the forefront of new humanistic ideas. Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture. Under this title in 1999 UNESCO declared four properties World Heritage sites: the walled city of Dalt Vila (16th century), the Phoenician-Punic Necropolis of Puig des Molins, Sa Calera (Carthaginian town of VIII BC) and the prairies of Posidonia oceanica (the seabed in the Ses Salines Natural Park).
Cuenca: The abstract city
Camilo José Cela described it as “cubist and medieval, hanging and open”.
Cuenca has been a Heritage City since 1996 due to its magnificent preservationof its urban landscape and the exceptional fusion of the city with its beautiful natural setting.
Córdoba and Santiago de Compostela: The spiritual cities Córdoba and Santiago de Compostela alone evoke the essence of Arabic and Christian culture on the peninsula. The mosque and the cathedral sheltered under their arches and vaults the people who brought the best from the east and west. Today it continues to be a mythical centre of Hispanic cultures and attracts thousands of visitors.
Source:- Spain Tourism Office
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