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City Hall in the Plaza Mayor
City Hall in the Plaza Mayor
Flag of Valladolid
Coat of arms of Valladolid
Coat of arms
Valladolid, Spain location.png
Valladolid is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 41°38′0″N 4°43′0″W / 41.63333°N 4.71667°W / 41.63333; -4.71667Coordinates: 41°38′0″N 4°43′0″W / 41.63333°N 4.71667°W / 41.63333; -4.71667
Country Spain
Autonomous community Castile and León
ComarcaCampiña del Pisuerga
Judicial districtValladolid
 • AlcaldeFrancisco Javier León de la Riva (2007) (PP)
 • Municipality197.91 km2 (76.41 sq mi)
Elevation698 m (2,290 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Municipality309,714 [1]
 • Metro416,244
DemonymVallisoletano, -a (unformally, pucelano, -a)
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code47001 – 47016
Dialing code983
Official language(s)Spanish
WebsiteOfficial website
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For other uses, see Valladolid (disambiguation).
City Hall in the Plaza Mayor
City Hall in the Plaza Mayor
Flag of Valladolid
Coat of arms of Valladolid
Coat of arms
Valladolid, Spain location.png
Valladolid is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 41°38′0″N 4°43′0″W / 41.63333°N 4.71667°W / 41.63333; -4.71667Coordinates: 41°38′0″N 4°43′0″W / 41.63333°N 4.71667°W / 41.63333; -4.71667
Country Spain
Autonomous community Castile and León
ComarcaCampiña del Pisuerga
Judicial districtValladolid
 • AlcaldeFrancisco Javier León de la Riva (2007) (PP)
 • Municipality197.91 km2 (76.41 sq mi)
Elevation698 m (2,290 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Municipality309,714 [1]
 • Metro416,244
DemonymVallisoletano, -a (unformally, pucelano, -a)
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code47001 – 47016
Dialing code983
Official language(s)Spanish
WebsiteOfficial website

Valladolid (Spanish pronunciation: [baʎaðoˈlið]) is a city in Spain and the de facto capital of the autonomous region of Castile and Leon. It has a population of 309,714 people (2013 est.),[1] making it Spain's 13th most populous municipality and northwestern Spain's biggest city. Its metropolitan area ranks 20th in Spain with a population of 414,244 people in 23 municipalities.

The city is situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within five winegrowing regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Toro, Tierra de León, and Cigales. Its name is linked to the 8th-century Muslim Caliph Al-Walid I who ruled the Islamic Empire between 705-715 while it included "Valladolid".[2]

Valladolid was originally settled in pre-Roman times by the Celtic Vaccaei people, and later the Romans themselves. It remained a small settlement until being re-established by King Alfonso VI of Castile as a Lordship for the Count Pedro Ansúrez in 1072. It grew to prominence in the Middle Ages as the seat of the Court of Castile and being endowed with fairs and different institutions as a collegiate church, University (1241), Royal Court and Chancery and the Royal Mint. The Catholic Monarchs, Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, married in Valladolid in 1469 and established it as the capital of the Kingdom of Castile and later of united Spain. Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid in 1506, while authors Francisco de Quevedo and Miguel de Cervantes lived and worked in the city. The city was briefly the capital of Habsburg Spain under Phillip III between 1601 and 1606, before returning indefinitely to Madrid. The city then declined until the arrival of the railway in the 19th century, and with its industrialisation into the 20th century.

The Old Town is made up of a variety of historic houses, palaces, churches, plazas, avenues and parks, and includes the National Museum of Sculpture, the Museum of Contemporary Art Patio Herreriano or the Oriental Museum, as well as the houses of José Zorrilla and Cervantes which are open as museums. Among the events that are held each year in the city there is Holy Week, Valladolid International Film Week (Seminci), and the Theatre Festival and street arts (TAC).


One popular etymology suggests that the modern name "Valladolid" derives from a Celtiberian language expression, Vallis Tolitum ("Valley of Waters"), referring to the confluence of rivers. Another suggests that the name derives from the Arabic expression "Ballad Al-Walid" بلد الوليد, which means the city of "Al-Walid", referring to Al-Walid I.[2][3]

The generally accepted derivation is from the demonym Vallisoletano, which was, in fact, the Spanish demonym of the city, and means "the one of the sunny valley". Supporting this are texts from the Middle Ages, which use Vallisoletum, a word that continued to be used as late as the 16th century (see painting by Braun and Hogenberg).

It is also popularly called Pucela, a nickname whose origin is not clear, but may refer to knights in the service of Joan of Arc, known as La Pucelle. Another theory is that Pucela comes from the fact that Puzzeli's cement was sold there, the only city in Spain that sold it.


The Vaccaei was a Celtic tribe, the first people with stable presence on the sector of the middle valley of the River Duero documented in historical times.

'A jousting tournament in the main square of Valladolid', historical ceiling preserved in Prado Museum

Remains of Celtiberian and of a Roman camp have been excavated near the city. The nucleus of the city was originally located in the area of the current San Miguel y el Rosarillo square, and was surrounded by a palisade. Archaeological proofs of the existence of three ancient lines of walls have been found.

During the time of Moorish rule in Spain the Christian kings moved the population of this region north into more easily defended areas, and deliberately created a no man's land as a buffer zone against further Moorish conquests. The area was captured from the Moors in the 10th century, and Valladolid was a village until King Alfonso VI of León and Castile donated it to Count Pedro Ansúrez in 1072. He built a palace (now lost) for himself and his wife, Countess Eylo, the Collegiate of St. Mary and the La Antigua churches. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Valladolid grew rapidly, thanks also to the commercial privileges granted by the kings Alfonso VIII and Alfonso X, as well as to the repopulation of the area after the Reconquista.

Map of the territory of the Vaccaei

In 1469 Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon were married in the city; by the 15th century Valladolid was the residence of the kings of Castile.[citation needed] In 1506 Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid in a house that is now a Museum dedicated to him. It was made the capital of the kingdom again between 1601 and 1606 by Philip III. The city was again damaged by a flood of the rivers Pisuerga and Esgueva.

Despite the damage to the old city by the 1960s economic boom, it still boasts a few architectural manifestations of its former glory. Some monuments include the unfinished cathedral, the Plaza Mayor (Main Square), which was the model for that of Madrid, and of other main squares throughout the former Spanish Empire, the National Sculpture Museum, next to the church of Saint Paul, which includes Spain's greatest collections of polychrome wood sculptures, and the Faculty of Law of the University of Valladolid, whose façade is one of the few surviving works by Narciso Tomei, the same artist who did the transparente in Toledo Cathedral. The Science Museum is next to the river Pisuerga. The only surviving house of Miguel de Cervantes is also located in Valladolid. Although unfinished, the Cathedral of Valladolid was designed by Juan de Herrera, architect of El Escorial.


At an elevation of 735 metres (2,411 ft), the city of Valladolid experiences the continental Mediterranean climate (Kŏppen Csb). Valladolid's climate features very cold and windy winters due to altitude and an inland location. Fog is very typical. Winters always include snow and temperatures below freezing. Valladolid's continental climate is caused by two principal factors: 1) distance from the sea and 2) higher altitude.

Winter in the city gardens

Temperature ranges can be extreme and Valladolid is drier than Spain's coastal regions, although there is year-round precipitation. Average annual precipitation is 435 mm (17,12 in) and the average annual relative humidity is 65%. In winter, temperatures very often (almost every day) drop below freezing, often reaching temperatures as low as −8 °C (17 °F), and snowfall is common, while the summer months see average high temperatures of 27,4 °C (81,3 °F). The lowest recorded temperature in Valladolid was −19 °C (−2,2 °F). The highest recorded temperature was 40,2 °C (104.36 °F) on 19 July 1995.

Climate data for Valladolid (1981-2010) Record Temeperatures(1971-2010)
Record high °C (°F)17.0
Average high °C (°F)8.2
Daily mean °C (°F)4.2
Average low °C (°F)0.2
Record low °C (°F)−18.8
Precipitation mm (inches)40
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)65588522487868
 % humidity83726262605245485670798464
Mean monthly sunshine hours101147215232272322363334254182117892,624
Source #1: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (normals 1981–2010) [4]
Source #2: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (extremes only 1938–2012) [5]


Santa Cruz Palace, University of Valladolid
University of Valladolid Law School

Education in Valladolid depends on the Ministry of Education of the Government of Castile and Leon, who assumes the responsibility for education at the regional level, both the university level and in non universitarios. According to the Ministry itself, an estimated in the academic year 2005-2006 the total number of university students was not more than 52 000, which are available to 141 schools, with 2399 and 4487 classroom teachers.

As for university education, Valladolid has two universities :

It also features the 25 centers, a number of administrative buildings such as the Palacio de Santa Cruz, where the rector, and the Museum of the University of Valladolid (MUVa), The Student House, featuring the other administrative services, or CTI (Center for Information Technology), located in the basement of the University Residence Alfonso VIII, next to the old Faculty of Science.

UEMC University

Main sights[edit]

The capital of Castile y León preserves in its old quarter heritage of aristocratic houses and religious buildings.

Interesting religious buildings[edit]

Regalado street in the historic district
Church of San Benito

Other buildings[edit]

Gutierrez way
Church of San Juan de Letrán
The luxury sports cars of Tauro Sport Auto are manufactured in Valladolid.
Mantilla House.
Academia de Caballería (Cavalry Academy)

The heart of the old city is the 16th-century Plaza Mayor, presided over by a statue of Count Ansúrez from 1903. On one side of it stands the City Hall, an eclectic building dating from the beginning of the 20th century, crowned by a clock tower. In the nearby streets is the Palace of Los Pimentel, today the seat of the Provincial Council. It is one of the most important palaces, as King Philip II was born here on 21 May 1527. The Royal Palace (where King Philip IV of Spain and Queen Anne of France, mother of Louis XIV were born), the 16th-century Palace of the Marquises of Valverde, and that of the banker Fabio Nelli – a building with a Classicist stamp built in 1576 – should also be pointed out. The Museum of Valladolid occupies this complex, exhibiting a collection of furniture, sculptures, paintings and ceramic pieces dated from Prehistoric times to the present.

The Teatro Lope de Vega is a theater built in the classical style in 1861 and now very run-down. There has been controversy over whether the city should pay to restore it.[6]

The Campo Grande, a large public park located in the heart of the city, dates back to 1787.

The National Sculpture Museum is site in San Gregorio College, a Flemish Gothic style building. It is home to polychrome carvings made by artists like Alonso Berruguete or Gregorio Fernández. The Museum of Contemporary Spanish Art, located in the Patio Herreriano, one of the cloisters of the former Monastery of San Benito, preserves more than 800 paintings and sculptures from the 20th century.

The University, whose Baroque façade is decorated with various academic symbols, and the Santa Cruz College, which as well as housing a library forms one of the first examples of the Spanish Renaissance.

The city preserves houses where great historical characters once lived. They include:


As of the 2013 census, the population of the city of Valladolid proper was 309,714,[1] and the population of the entire urban area was estimated to be near 420,000. The most important municipalities of the urban area are (after Valladolid itself) Laguna de Duero and Boecillo on the south, Arroyo de la Encomienda, Zaratán, Simancas and Villanubla on the west, Cigales and Santovenia de Pisuerga on the north, and Tudela de Duero and Cistérniga on the east.

After the new neighbourhoods developed in recent decades (one example would be Covaresa) the high prices in the municipality led young people to buy properties in towns around the city, so the population has tended to fall in Valladolid but is growing fast in the rest of the urban area (for example, Arroyo de la Encomienda or Zaratán)


Valladolid is a major economic center in Spain. The automotive industry is one of the major motors of the city's economy since the founding of FASA in 1953 for the assembling of Renault-branded vehicles, which would later become Renault España. Four years later, in 1957, Sava was founded and started producing commercial vehicles. Sava would later be absorbed by Pegaso and since 1990 by the Italian truck manufacturer Iveco. Together with the French tire manufacturer Michelin, Renault and Iveco form the most important industrial companies of the city.

Besides the automotive and automotive auxiliary industries, other important industrial sectors are food processing (with local companies like Acor and Queserías Entrepinares and facilities of multinationals like Cadbury, Lactalis or Lesaffre), metallurgy (Lingotes Especiales, Saeta die Casting...), chemical and printing. In total 22 013 people were employed in 2007 in industrial workplaces, representing 14.0% of total workers.[7]

The main economic sector of Valladolid in terms of employment is however the service sector, which employs 111,988 people, representing 74.2% of Valladolid workers affiliated to Social Security.

The construction sector employed 15,493 people in 2007, representing 10.3% of total workers.

Finally, agriculture is a tiny sector in the city which only employs 2,355 people (1.5% of the total). The predominant crops are wheat, barley and sugar beet.

Top 10 companies by turnover in 2013 in € million were : Renault (4 596), Michelin (2 670), IVECO (1 600), the Valladolid-based supermarket chain Grupo El Árbol (849), cheese processing Queserías Entrepinares (204), sugar processing Acor (201), service group Grupo Norte (174), automobile auxiliary company Faurecia-Asientos de Castilla y León (143), Sada (129) and Hipereco (108).[8]


The airport is located in Villanubla, Valladolid Airport has connections with Barcelona, Málaga, and Canary Islands. Valladolid is also integrated into the Spanish high-speed network AVE. Madrid–Valladolid high-speed rail line was inaugurated on 22 December 2007. It Includes a tunnel of 28 kilometres (17 mi) at Guadarrama, which is the fourth longest train tunnel in Europe. Valladolid will become the hub for all AVE lines connecting the north and north-west of Spain with the rest of the country. Trainsets used on this line include S-114 (max speed 250 km/h (155 mph)), S-130 (Patito, max speed 250 km/h (155 mph)) and the S102 (Pato, max speed 320 km/h or 199 mph). This line connects the city with Madrid in 56 minutes. There are also so many highways that connects the city with all the country. It is possible to get fast even to the south of Spain in around six hours through the new highway, Autovía Ruta de la Plata, or Autovía A-66. It is free, like almost all highways in Spain.


Calderón Theatre is the festival headquarters

The city is also host to one of the foremost (and oldest) international film festivals, the Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid (Seminci), founded in 1956.

Local cuisine[edit]

Although an inland province, fish is commonly consumed, some brought from the Cantabrian Sea. Fish like red bream and hake are a major part of Valladolid's cuisine.

The main speciality of Valladolid is, however, lechazo (suckling baby lamb). The lechazo is slowly roasted in a wood oven and served with salad.

Hermanos Sastre bodega

Valladolid also offers a great assortment of wild mushrooms. Asparagus, endive and beans can also be found. Some legumes, like white beans and lentils are particularly good. Pine nuts are also produced in great quantities.

Sheep cheese from Villalón de Campos, the famous pata de mulo (mule's foot) is usually unripened (fresh), but if it is cured the ripening process brings out such flavour that it can compete with the best sheep cheeses in Spain.

Valladolid has a bread to go with every dish, like the delicious cuadros from Medina del Campo, the muffins, the pork-scratching bread and the lechuguinos, with a pattern of concentric circles that resemble a head of lettuce.

The pastries and baked goods from the province of Valladolid are well-known, specially St. Mary's ring-shaped pastries, St. Claire's sponge cakes, pine nut balls and cream fritters.

Valladolid is also a producer of wines. The ones that fall under the Designation of Origin Cigales are very good. White wines from Rueda and red wines from Ribera del Duero are known for their quality.


Holy Week procession in the city

Holy Week holds ("Semana Santa" in Spanish) one of the best known Catholic traditions in Valladolid. The Good Friday processions are considered an exquisite and rich display of Castilian religious sculpture. On this day, in the morning, members of the brotherhoods on horseback make a poetic proclamation throughout the city. The "Sermon of the Seven Words" is spoken in Plaza Mayor Square. In the afternoon, thousands of people take part in the Passion Procession, comprising 31 pasos (religious statues), most of which date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The last statue in the procession is the Virgen de las Angustias, and her return to the church is one of the most emotional moments of the celebrations, with the Salve Popular sung in her honour.

Easter is one of the most spectacular and emotional fiestas in Valladolid. Religious devotion, art, colour and music combine in acts to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ: the processions. Members of the different Easter brotherhoods, dressed in their characteristic robes, parade through the streets carrying religious statues (pasos) to the sound of drums and music.


Valladolid's main association football club is Real Valladolid, nicknamed Pucela, who play in the country's second league, the Segunda División. Players who went on to play for the Spain national football team include Fernando Hierro, José Luis Caminero and Rubén Baraja. Real's stadium, the Estadio Nuevo José Zorrilla, was built as a venue for the 1982 FIFA World Cup[9] and in preparation staged the 1982 Copa del Rey Final.

CB Valladolid is the city's basketball team and they play in the Liga ACB. Arvydas Sabonis played in this team. The matches are held in the Polideportivo Pisuerga.

In handball Valladolid is represented by BM Valladolid of the Liga ASOBAL. They have won 2 King's Cup, 1 ASOBAL Cup and 1 EHF Cup. They play their games in the Polideportivo Huerta del Rey.

Rugby union is a very popular sport in Valladolid. CR El Salvador, current champions of Spain's División de Honor de Rugby compete in the European Challenge Cup. They play their matches at Estadio Pepe Rojo. VRAC, current champions of the King's Cup, also plays in the same stadium.

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Friendship cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Padrón 2013". Retrieved 5 April 2014.  Population figures from 1 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Marín, Manuela et al., eds. 1998. The Formation of Al-Andalus: History and Society. Ashgate. ISBN 0-86078-708-7
  3. ^ Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v. 23 The Zenith of the Marwanid House, transl. Martin Hinds, Suny, Albany, 1990
  4. ^ "Guía resumida del clima en España (1981-2010)" (in Spanish). Agencia Estatal de Meteorología. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Valores extremos. Valladolid Aeropuerto" (in Spanish). Agencia Estatal de Meteorología. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  6. ^ ÍÑIGO SALINAS (2008-08-27). "De la Riva confía en que las obras del Lope de Vega salgan adelante". El Norte de Castille (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  7. ^ Data from Informe de Datos Económicos y Sociales de los Municipios de España, written by Caja España
  8. ^ Castilla y León Económica, no. 211, february 2013
  9. ^ World Cup 1982 finals. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.

External links[edit]