A town on the edge – Ciudad Rodrigo

The sleepy Spanish town of Ciudad Rodrigo is one of the ‘last frontier’ towns located in western Castilla y León. It is close to the Portuguese border and a lovely place to break up your journey as you travel through the frontier towns of Spain. Actually, the history of Ciudad Rodrigo might not be much different from that of Trujillo or Caceres, as these towns were on the same pilgrim route, and it was a frontier stronghold.

Ciudad Rodrigo is a fortified town with its walls enclosing a richness of medieval and religious buildings. It appears to us that the most important are the Cathedral and the Castle. The town is situated on the banks of the river Águeda and has its origins well into the BC period, followed by a rich Roman Empire history.

The long, sloping Plaza Mayor is an atypical Spanish centrepiece of this town. At the top of the hill, the double-storey arches of the Casa Consistorial are stunning, but the plaza’s prettiest building is the Casa del Marqués de Cerralbo, an early-16th-century townhouse with a wonderful facade.

But the main defining feature of the town is its imposing medieval wall. This wall, which surrounds the town, was constructed in the 12th century. The perimeter wall walk is in excess of 2 kilometres and you will walk across several gates which lead into the fortified city.

The promontory on which the Castle of Henry II was erected has pride of place over the fortress and currently houses a parador.

The town enjoyed a period of prosperity where numerous palaces and mansions, which can be seen as you amble through the towns cobbled and narrow streets.

The Cathedral is, as is the case across the entire Christian world, the most important religious building in Ciudad Rodrigo. The building dates back to the mid 16th century but was built over a long period, resulting in a mixture of artistic styles. One element that is striking is the façade with the frieze decorated with several sculptural reliefs.

Ciudad Rodrigo is a pleasing town where you can appreciate its medieval charm as you wander through the narrow streets and along the fortress wall. There are probably more things to discover about Ciudad Rodrigo, yet sadly, we hadn’t stayed in the town long enough. We are glad that we had a short break here as we travel around the Iberian Peninsula. Each stop, such as this, makes Spain more intriguing and you soon realise that there is so much to this vast country.

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