Leon
JOURNEY TO MADRID & CENTRAL SPAIN
Sept. 27- Oct. 7, 2017
crown
PLEASE SEE OUR
REGISTRATION FORMS

 

 

Itinerary

DAY 1 SEPTEMBER 27 DEPART BOSTON DIRECT FLIGHT TO MADRID

DAY 2 SEPTEMBER 28 ARRIVE MADRID TRANSFER TO NOVOTEL PUENTE DE LA PAZ

 

 

DAYS 3 AND 4 SEPTEMBER 29 AND 30
SIGHTSEEING MADRID

Madrid is the capital of Spain and its largest city, 3.2 million, 6.5 million in the metropolitan area, the 3rd largest city in the European Union. Madrid is a very ancient city that existed for centuries before the arrival of the Romans. Madrid was recovered from the Moors by Alfonso VI in 1085, the same year Alfonso conquered Toledo. Madrid offers many extraordinary museums and sites that can keep the visitor busy for many days.

 

 

PLAZA DE CYBELES
The neoclassical Plaza de Cybeles is one of the most iconic symbols of Madrid. It includes the Cybele Palace built in 1911, now the city hall and the beautiful Cybele Fountain.

 

THE PRADO MUSEUM

Founded as a Museum in 1819 the Prado has one of the world's most outstanding collections of European art from the 12th-20th centuries and it is considered one of the finest museums in the world. It has a particularly rich collection of works by Goya, Velazquez, El Greco, Rubens and Titian.

THYSSEN - BORNEMISZA MUSEUM

Located in what is know as the Golden Triangle of Art near the Del Prado and the Reina Sofia Museum, the Thyssen Museum is named for its founder.

The collection was started in 1920 as a private collection by Baron Thyssen Bornemisza, a German entrepreneur and art collector. Much of the collection was purchased from private American collections during the great depression. During WW I the Baron moved to Lugano, Switzerland and continued to enlarge his collection, a process continued by his son Hans Heinrich (1921-2002). The collection was housed in a 20 room building on the family estate in Lugano. In 1988 the Baron filed a request to expand the building which was rejected. The Baron was persuaded to relocate his collection to Spain and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum officially opened in 1992.

 

VENUS AND CUPID BY PETER PAUL RUBENS

"Portrait d'un paysan" by Paul Cézanne

 

REINA SOFIA MUSEUM - Queen Sofía Museum

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, also called the Museo Reina Sofia, Queen Sofia Museum is Spain’s National Museum of 20th-century art. The Museum was opened in September, 1992 and named in honor of Queen Sofia and is dedicated to Spanish art with excellent collections of the works of Picasso and Dali. The most famous masterpiece in the museum is Picasso's painting "Guernica", painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazis' devastating bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.


Picasso's painting Guernica

Picasso

Museum interior

 

THE PLAZA MAYOR

The (423 ft × 308 ft) Plaza Mayor was built during Philip III's reign (1598–1621) with construction started in 1617, it is the main plaza of Madrid surrounded by three story buildings.

The Plaza has been used for many events including bullfights, markets, trials and executions by Spanish Inquisition. There is a statue of Philip III in the middle of the Plaza.

Phillip III

Inquistion Meeting in the Plaza Mayor

 

PUERTA DEL SOL
Originally the site of one of the city gates the PUERTA DEL SOL is now a major public square and business area famous for being at Km 0 of the Spanish road network. All road markers on Spanish roads are the distance to the famous Km 0 in the Puerta del Sol. The Puerta del Sol contains a number of important sites, including the Real Casa de Correos, built in the 18th century as part of the Post Office, now headquarters of the President of the Regional Government. Also to be found are the mounted statue of Charles III, the famous Tio Pepe sign and the the kilometro zero. It is also the location for the famous Madrid New Year Celebration.

 

RETIRO PARK

The Retiro Park was created by King Philip IV (1605 - 1617) as a retreat for the Royal family, retiro means retreat, hence the name of the park. At the time, the park was well outside the city walls and was opened to the public in 1767. Today the park is one of the city's main tourist attractions and is home to several sculptures, monuments, and a boating lake.

 

 

 

DAY 5 OCTOBER 1-TRANSFER TO TOLEDO

Toledo

Toledo is of pre-Roman origin which fell to the Romans in 193 BC. In the 6th century Toledo was the capital of the Visigothic kingdom, its greatest period of prosperity was under Moorish rule (712–1085). During the Moorish period and later under the kings of Castile, Toledo was a major center of the Moorish, Spanish, and Jewish cultures and a primary center for translations of classical works. On May 25, 1085 Alfonso VI captured Toledo, a major military and symbolic step in the Reconquest of Spain from the Moslems.

CHECK INTO HOTEL CARSONA DE LA REYNA - see website

 

DAY 6 - OCTOBER 2 - TOLEDO

 

 

Toledo

"View of Toledo" - El Greco

 

 

DAY 7: OCTOBER 3 TRANSFER TO SALAMANCA WITH STOP IN AVILA

 

AVILA

 

The history of Avila began as a Celtic settlement around 700 B.C. First walls were built by Romans in third century B.C. making Avila a strategic point of defense. City’s peak period was 16th century when wool manufacturing allowed economic growth. During this boom period many civil and religious structures were built which still stand in the historic quarter.


The wall is the symbol of the city and it is one of the best kept, medieval walled enclosures in Europe. Its two and a half kilometers perimeter is marked by a hundred towers, six gates and three openings.


 

The Gate of Leales ("The Gate of the Loyal Ones"), the main entrance into the medieval city, leads directly to the cathedral, (below) erected between the 12th and 14th centuries. The cathedral apse is attached to the wall, making it the largest round turret of the city.

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Cathedral of Avila



Within the walls, the medieval areas intermingle with Renaissance houses of the nobles. The most remarkable building is the Palace of Dávila. It is a fortress made of four houses; the oldest dates to the 13th century with a famous Renaissance window.
Nearby is the 16th century Tower of Guzmanes, which today houses the City Council. There are more than a hundred mansions and palatial residences that existed in Avila between the 16th and 18th century. The Mercado Chico square where the ancient Roman forum stood, is now the city centre.

Throughout history, Avila was the birthplace of famous Spanish mystics, like Santa Teresa de Jesus and San Juan de la Cruz.

 


Saint Teresa of Ávila, known as Saint Teresa of Jesus. b.1515, d.1582.

This is evidenced by the great number of churches and convents that are scattered around the city. In Plaza de Santa Teresa is the convent.

Places to visit in the city of Avila, World Heritage Site

The City Wall (11th century), is Avila's most spectacular monument surrounding the old town, illustrating its wealth, power and influence Avila enjoyed centuries ago.
The Cathedral of Avila (10th - 14th century), temple fortress
Convents: The Convent of Santa Teresa and Convent of Las Madres
The four posts: magnificent views of the city and the city wall, a pleasant 15 minutes stroll away from the center and an ideal place from which to take photos.


Following the visit to Avila we will continue to Salamanca to the Parador de Salamanca.

 

OVERNIGHT SALAMANCA at PARADOR DE SALAMANCA

 

DAY 8 - OCTOBER 4 - SALAMANCA


History
Salamanca was populated by Celt Iberian tribes in 4th century B.C. When Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula, the town was Romanized (see Roman Bridge below) and called Salmantica. In 13th century it became known by its current name Salamanca.

Roman Bridge


Salamanca was Christianized before 600 AD by the Visigoths, conquered by the Moors 120 years later, and reconquered by King Alfonso VI in 1096 (he had recovered Toledo in 1085).

 

The institution that was to become the University of Salamanca was founded in 1218. It was granted the formal title of University by Alfonso X "The Wise” in 1254. It received official recognition in 1255 by Pope Alexander IV who called the University "one of the four leading lights of the world" (with the universities of Oxford, Paris and Bologna).

Library, University of Salamanca

 

PLAZA MAYOR

 

LUIS DE LEON

The University of Salamanca produced many famous scholars, among them a 16th century scholar, Fray Luis de Leon. His teachings got him into conflict with the Inquisition, resulting in his being imprisoned for several years. Returning to his classroom the day he was released from prison, he resumed his lecture with these famous words: "As we were saying yesterday”.

 

Salamanca supported Philip V in the War of Spanish Succession 1701-1714, and in gratitude, King Philip built the magnificent Plaza Mayor.

Salamanca's importance in the 20th century has centered in the cultural and literary life of the University of Salamanca.

In 2002 it was declared a European Capital of Culture, which provided a new importance to this dynamic and cosmopolitan city.

OVERNIGHT SALAMANCA at PARADOR DE SALAMANCA

 

DAY 9 - OCTOBER 5 - RETURN TO MADRID WITH VISIT TO SEGOVIA

 

The old city of Segovia is spectacularly situated atop a long, narrow promontory. It contains a wealth of monuments, including a cathedral, a magnificent ancient Roman aqueduct, and beautiful fairy-tale spires of the Alcázar, or castle-palace, that towers over the countryside below.


Segovia was populated by the Celt Iberians and later by the Romans, and occupied by Visigoths and Moors. The city was abandoned by the Moors shortly after their conquest of Spain and only repopulated during the reconquista, at the end of the 11th century. Segovia is particularly rich in Romanesque architecture from the 13th and 14th centuries, its time of greatest prosperity and splendor.

Segovia view



The Roman Aqueduct is Segovia's most emblematic monument and extraordinary example of Roman civil engineering in Spain, built to bring water from the Rio Frio.

No one knows the exact date it was constructed, though the consensus is 1st century A.D. during reign of Emperor Trajan. The most extraordinary characteristic is that no binder was used to hold it together, no cement, mortar, nothing: its entire 2600 ft length and 100 ft height has stood for two thousand years because of its extraordinary construction.

Roman Aqueduct, Segovia

Alcázar. First built in the twelfth century, but remodeled, enlarged, burnt down and rebuilt over and over again, the Alcázar of Segovia is instantly recognizable, having served as the inspiration for the Disneyland Sleeping Beauty castle. Isabel the Catholic was living there when she was proclaimed queen, and received Christopher Columbus to promise funding for his transatlantic adventure.


Segovia's cathedral was built to replace a Romanesque one which burned down in 1520 during a rebellion. Work started on the current cathedral in 1525, is the late Gothic style.

Segovia Cathedral

CONTINUE TO MADRID OVERNIGHT AT THE HOTEL EMPERADOR




DAY 10 MADRID OCTOBER 6

The last day in Madrid is an opportunity to do that last minute shopping, see a museum you have missed, or visit Palacio Real and Almudena Cathedral near the Hotel Emperador.

Palacio Real

The official residence of the Royal Family in Madrid is now only used for state ceremonies. Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561 and built a palace that was destroyed by fire in 1734. Philip V ordered a new palace to be built on the same site in 1738 which was completed in 1764. The Palace has 1,450,000 sq ft of floorspace and 3,418 rooms making it the largest royal palace in Europe.

 

Catedral de la Almudena

Standing opposite the Palacio Real, is Madrid’s Cathedral, Santa María la Real de La Almudena built in the Gothic Revival Style. Construction was started in 1879 but ceased during the Spanish Civil War and did not resume until 1950. The Cathedral was completed in 1993.

 

OVERNIGHT MADRID HOTEL EMPERADOR


DAY 11 - OCTOBER 7 - RETURN TO U.S.


FOR INFORMATION, PLEASE SEE OUR REGISTRATION FORMS PAGE

or CONTACT:

Ben Taggie or Louise Taggie
Phone/Fax: 508-979-TOUR or 508-264-4854
msaculturaltours@comcast.net