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University of Valladolid

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The University of Valladolid is one of the oldest in Spain, together with the Universities of Palencia, Salamanca and Lérida. During the 13th and 14th centuries these universities formed part of a great intellectual movement which developed in Western Europe.

The University of Valladolid was founded at the end of the 13th Century. In 1293, the first documented reference was signed by King Sancho IV of Castile. This intellectual renaissance took place at the same time as the urban expansion and material development of the great Castilian towns , of which Valladolid is a clear example.

In the beginning, the different Faculties taught subjects such as Grammar, Arithmetic, Latin and Sacred Scripture. Later, the city obtained both the royal approval and the papal bull for this centre. In 1346, Pope Clemente VI, at the request of the king Alfonso XI, granted the title of “General Studies” to the already existing studies in Valladolid. However, it was not possible to study Theology, because it was exclusively a privilege of the University of Paris. In 1417 when the Schism ended, Pope Martin V gave Valladolid permission to build the Faculty they desired. Likewise, the kings also provided funds for the centre, thus giving it certain economic independence.

In the 16th Century, the “Alma Mater” of Valladolid enjoyed its greatest moment of splendour, when it was declared one of the three main Universities of the kingdom, together with Salamanca and Alcalá. In 1517, the first statute appeared, written in Latin, and later in Spanish. The Faculties of Medicine and Law achieved outstanding fame, which was also the result of the existence of the neighbouring Chancery. At the end of the 15th Century, Cardinal Mendoza set up the Santa Cruz College, which from the beginning was one of the most famous Spanish University institutions.

In 1770, under the reign of Carlos III, a general reform of the Spanish Universities took place. Although this reform was not fully consolidated at the time, during the following decades the changes were remarkable. From the beginning of the 19th Century until 1857, the old University, which had been dominated by the peculiarities and the scholastic spirit and characterised by a certain independence was transformed into a lay, liberal and centralised University. In the midst of this transformation lawyers and doctors were trained. Later on, and also during this Century, technical studies became increasingly important. The University of Valladolid, located in a medium-size city with liberal trends, has increased rapidly its number of students, and is now the largest University in the Region of Castile and Leon. In the present academic year 2011-2012 it has 25,000 students and more than 2,500 professors distributed throughout the University centres of the four provinces.


The University of Valladolid is located in the Region of Castile and Leon. It has four campuses in the cities of Valladolid, Palencia, Segovia and Soria.


The Region of Castile and Leon is one of the 17 Spanish regions. It lies on the Northern Plateau of the Iberian Peninsula. With an extent of about 95,000 square kilometers and a population of about 2.5 million inhabitants, Castile and Leon is not only the largest region in Spain but also in the EU.

The Region of Castile and Leon comprising nine provinces (Avila, Burgos, Leon, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid and Zamora) covers a fifth of the whole of Spain.

The political union of Castile and Leon was established in the 13th Century, during the reign of Fernando III ‘El Santo’.

In the 15th Century, the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile and Leon joined after the marriage of Isabel I of Castile and Fernando V de Aragon (The Catholic Monarchs), thus putting an end to the reconquest of present day Spain, which was still partially under Arab rule.

The 16th Century was a time of great prosperity for Castile and Leon. This was due to the great wealth derived from its agriculture and cattle raising, together with the development of a thriving textile industry. This great prosperity was also a result of the conquest of America helped by the people of Castile and Leon.

Nowadays, there are four important State Universities in Castile and Leon: Burgos, Leon, Salamanca, and Valladolid, and four private ones: the Catholic University of Avila, the University Pontificia of Salamanca, the SEK Tagore University in Segovia and the European University Miguel de Cervantes in Valladolid.


The city of Valladolid, capital of the Region of Castile and Leon, is located in the centre of this region, 200 kms. Northwest of Madrid; and has a population of about 350,000 inhabitants.

It was founded by Count Pedro Ansúrez on the left bank of the Pisuerga river, close to where it merges with the Douro river, during the reign of Alfonso VI of Castile (11th Century). Valladolid became important when it was the Court of the King of Castile at the end of the Middle Ages.

Throughout history, important events took place in the city of Valladolid: the proclamation of Fernando III, ‘El Santo’ as King of Castile, the wedding of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel of Castile and Fernando of Aragon, the death of Christopher Colombus and the birth of Felipe II (1527) King of Spain.

During the reigns of Felipe II and Felipe III, the Court was located in Valladolid, because at that time it was the capital of Spain. Reminders of that time are the National Museum of Polychromatic Sculpture (former St. Gregory College), and the General Archives of the kingdom of Spain in Simancas. The Museum of Polychromatic Sculpture is one of the most important in the world. The General Archives Building, located 5 kms. from Valladolid, holds a large stock of documents relating to the history of Spain from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century.

Valladolid is now the capital of Castile and Leon and stands out from other Spanish cities, because it has been able to combine the splendour of the past with the necessary progress and development of the present. It is now a modern city with important art and cultural treasures and it has developed cultural, economic and industrial centres.

Valladolid and its surroundings are renowned for the Spanish spoken here considered to be the purest in Spain. Prestigious poets and writers from the past and present, such as Miguel de Cervantes, José Zorrilla, Gaspar Núñez de Arce, Rosa Chacel and Miguel Delibes, were born or lived here.

The University with its large student population makes the city exceptionally friendly and lively. During the year, the student associations organise a wide range of cultural, sports and recreational activities. At weekends, students can enjoy its buzzing night life. The province of Valladolid is also internationally known for its variety of wines. Roast lamb with a good wine is a perfect example, among others, of the gastronomy of our region.

The climate in Valladolid ranges from cold winters with temperatures below 0º C to very hot summers with average temperatures of around 30º C.


The city of Palencia, capital of the province of Palencia, is within close proximity to some wonderful countryside. To the North, you will find “La montaña palentina”, with peaks of over 2,000 metres. In the Southwest, “Tierra de Campos” and in the South, the area of “Cerrato”.

The city of Palencia has been inhabited since ancient times. Centuries ago, the “vacceos”, the most advanced of the Celtic tribes, settled in this area, rich in natural resources. Palencia was greatly coveted by the Romans, the Visigoths and later by the Arabs.

In Palencia in 1208, King Alfonso VIII, a great driving force behind the social and cultural development of the city, founded the first University of Spain and one of the oldest in Europe.

The city of Palencia with 80,000 inhabitants goes back to the times of the Roman Empire. Until the last Century it was surrounded by a wall. However, nowadays new buildings and parks have replaced the old structures. The capital is well linked with the rest of Spain by road and railway.

Palencia is rich in art and monuments including a Diocesan Museum (medieval and renaissance art), the Cathedral Museum, Museum of Palencia (archaeological museum), Díaz Caneja Foundation (contemporary art), Jerónimo Arroyo Museum or Victorio Macho Museum.

Close to the city of Palencia, on the top of a hill 850 metres high, stands the “Cristo del Otero”, a colossal statue of Christ, which was built in 1930 together with a small church. The vast expanse of “Tierra de Campos” can be seen from the top of this hill. “Monte el Viejo”, extraordinary lung of the city, is also visible from this point.

The province of Palencia extends over an area of 8,000 square km, with a maximum altitude of 2,525 metres and a minimum of 700. It has a population of about 185,000 inhabitants.

Moreover, craftsmanship and folklore are two important aspects in the life of the province, notably the forge and silver works, the recovery of the spinning and blanket industry, famous during centuries, and also pottery.

Finally, the tourist routes of Palencia cannot be forgotten: the Route of the reservoirs, the Romanic art in the North, the abandoned villages, the caves, “Tierra de Campos”, Roman villages, and the Pilgrims’ Road to Santiago. Gastronomy is a surprise for the traveller, too. Like its landscape, the Palencia cooking is also varied with a special emphasis on its lamb dishes.


Segovia is located upon a limestone elevation that commands the expansive surrounding crop-covered plains. The first historical reference to the town of Segovia dates back to the year 192 B.C., when its Celt Iberian inhabitants were defeated by Roman forces. As a result of the subsequent two thousand years of existence and growth, Segovia has become one of the most monumental and picturesque towns in Spain. Having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage City, it is world-renowned for the ship-like appearance it projects, the Alcázar standing at its bow, the cathedral tower being its mainmast and the aqueduct its helm.

Likewise awaiting the visitor to Segovia are over forty Romanesque churches, dozens of Renaissance fortress-residences and palaces and, above all, the town’s inimitable atmosphere, which invites one to leisurely roam the streets, where it would seem that time, rather than slowly passing by, had decided to come to a halt in the 16th Century.

Present-day Segovia has managed to retain its image of a quiet provincial capital, the majority of its inhabitants being employed in the services sector, principally in catering for the needs of the great many tourists that flock here each year to enjoy all the town has to offer.


Soria is a small and peaceful city, located on the bank of the river Douro. During the Middle Ages, Soria experienced its years of greatest prosperity of its history.

Today, it is a city with magnificent scenery and it also has beautiful Roman buildings. Poets like Bécquer, Unamuno and Antonio Machado wrote about Soria and were inspired by its landscape and monuments.

The province of Soria is located in the Eastern part of the Region of Castile and Leon and borders on the provinces of La Rioja, Zaragoza, Guadalajara, Segovia and Burgos. The province of Soria extends over an area of 10,306 km2, which is almost a tenth of the entire region, and lies at an altitude of 1,026 meters above sea level.

The province is divided into two large geographical areas, namely, the Sistema Ibérico, with its Picos de Urbión, located in the North of the province, and the Sistema Central.

Because the province is located in the mountains and above sea level, Soria has a continental climate with long winters and short summers. In July, temperatures average 20º C and in January 2º C.

In Soria you will find outstanding monuments such as Iglesia de Sto. Domingo, Palacio de los Ríos y Salcedo, Iglesia de San Juan de Rabanera, Palacio de los Condes de Gomara, San Saturio...

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