5 Must-Visit World Heritage Cities in Spain

As someone who studies art history and Spanish, Spain has always been a place of interest for me in terms of cultural heritage. The country is filled with magnificent cities that hold so much cultural history. The art and architecture of Spain, as a result, is a delightful mix of the major cultures that were once active in Spain’s history. The following list will highlight five Spanish cities that are considered “World Heritage Cities.” They may not been at the top of your “must-visit” list before going abroad, but I certainly hope this adds a few places to your list.

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Photo credit: WikiImages, The Roman Aquaduct of Segovia

Segovia

Segovia, a city located northwest of Madrid is known for the Roman aqueduct that runs through the heart of the city, shown in the photo above.  In addition to this, centuries of history relating to Segovia’s blend of cultures resulted in the beautiful architecture and monuments which are found in this city.

Must see places:

Alcázar of Segovia – a Moorish castle that overlooks the Spanish plains below.

Aqueduct of Segovia – one of the most well-perserved Roman aqueducts alongside the Pont du Gard in France.

Image result for toledo spainPhoto credit: WikiImages, Overlooking the Cityscape of Toledo

Toledo

Toledo is a magnificent city set upon a hill above the plains of central Spain. This walled medieval city is known as the “city of three cultures,” as there are many Moorish, Jewish, and Christian monuments found within the city’s walls. There is definitely a strong cultural history in Toledo. If you’re interested in studying abroad in Toledo and are a University of Minnesota student, definitely check out my post on the Learning Abroad Center’s program in Toledo here.

Must see places:

Cristo de la Luz
– a former mosque later transformed into a Romanesque style Christian church.

Synagogue of El Transito – a well-preserved, fourteenth-century Jewish synagogue.

El Greco Museum – an art museum dedicated to the Spanish painter El Greco who spent the majority of his life in Toledo.

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Photo credit: Spain.info, View of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compestela is a city situated in far northwestern Spain; it is known for being the final stop of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. This is a very well preserved historical city, filled with an interesting religious and cultural history.  If you want to learn more about this city’s fascinating history, definitely check it out. Santiago de Compostela is filled to the brim with museums, most relating to the city’s art and religious history.

Must see places:

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – this is a grand cathedral from the 11th-century and is marked as a World Hertiage site.

Praza do Obradoiro – the main plaza in Santiago de Compostela’s old town.

Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago – a museum dedicated to sharing the history of Santiago de Compostela and its purpose in the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago.
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Photo credit: WikiImages, Aerial view of the city of Jaén 

Jaén

Most people have not heard of Jaén, but it is a great Spanish city. The city is located in southern Spain; if you enjoy other cities from the Andalusia region, it will be perfect place to visit. Jaén is mixed with Moorish and Christian cultural history, which you will be able to see from the architecture throughout. In addition to all of this cultural history, Jaén is the world capital for olive oil.

Must see places:

Villardompardo Palace – a palace built in the 16th-century that was later discovered to have concealed 11th-century Arab baths.

Alcázar of Jaén – a Moorish castle standing upon a mountain-top that overlooks the city.

Image resultPhoto credit: WikiImages, Lovely View of Salamanca City

Salamanca

Salamanca is located in northwestern Spain and is known as the “golden city” of the country. The foundation of this city dates back to the Celtic era. Salamanca is known for its rich cultural history, as well as being the location of the country’s first university, the University of Salamanca. The city is loaded with wonderful architecture from several style periods. If you love architecture and its history, this is definitely an awe-inspiring place to be.

Must see places:

Escuelas Menores – a beautiful cloister near to the historic University of Salamanca, where the Cielo of Salamanca is also nearby – a painted ceiling of the night sky constellations from the Middle Ages.

New and Old Cathedrals of Salamanca – unlike most Spanish cities, Salamanca has two cathedrals and both are incredible places in terms of style.

 

[This post has been adapted from the information provided Spain.info’s list of destinations of historical World Heritage cities in Spain. For more ideas places to visit while in Spain, check out Spain.info’s website and Facebook page.]

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