Castile and León

Castile and León, formerly known as Old Castile, gets its name from two of the most powerful kingdoms of the peninsula: the kingdom of León and the kingdom of Castile. The latter is so called because of the great number of castles, castillos in Spanish, built in this territory during the Middle Ages. Both coats of arms are still part of the Spanish Coat of Arms today.

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Alcázar fortress in Segovia

Alcázar fortress in Segovia

There is no Spanish town, small or large, that does not contain a lesson.


Coat of Arms of Castile, which is represented by the castle, and Coat of Arms of León, represented by the lion, in the current Spanish Coat of Arm

Many centuries ago, the Romans settled in this territory and left famous monuments, such as the Aqueduct of Segovia, which allowed people to bring water from the distant mountains to the town, where it hardly rained.

However, the region grew in importance especially during the Middle Ages, more precisely, during the 9th century C.E., when it became one of the most important kingdoms of the peninsula. Back then, the capital was located in what is now León. The kings and nobles would meet in the castles that, in the end, gave rise to the city. Nonetheless, the origins of this city are even older: in Roman times, it was a military camp. It should also be noted that most great cathedrals in Spain are placed in the cities of Castile and León.

Moreover, Castile and León has the honor of being one of the first places in the world where a parliament was ever created. It was called Las Cortes, and the idea was for its members to advise the ruler. In addition, Spain’s most famous queen, Isabella I, was Queen of Castile. She was the one who sponsored Columbus’ trip to America, as well as one of the greatest rulers of Spain, and the most powerful woman of the day.

Despite its former glory, nowadays, many villages of the region have had to see a great portion of their population leave, abandoning the crops of wheat that once made them famous. There’s a popular saying that goes “When has Castile said that it no longer wants wheat?”, referring to these large magnetic fields.

Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, 2nd century B.C.E.

The traditional cuisine from Castile and León is based on meat and sauces. One of the most popular dishes is a stew of meatballs in Spanish sauce, a typical recipe from Castile that everybody loves. Try meatballs in Spanish sauce, made following the traditional recipe, at St. Vicent Spanish Cuisine!

The façade of the cathedral of Burgos, with its stunning stained glasses.