- Dec 15, 2021
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Medina del Campo was founded in the 11th century on the mota (a low rise of land, natural or artificial, which stands alone on a plain) where the castle stands today. Although this area is now on the outskirts of the town, it was originally the centre of the village. Thanks to the repopulation at the beginning of the late Middle Ages and the trade fairs of the 15th and 16th centuries, Medina became one of the most important places in Castile, reaching a population of 20,000 at the end of the 15th century (the same number as today). The castle stands out as one of the most interesting places in Medina: its construction was commissioned in the mid-15th century by Kings John II and Henry IV of Castile, and the Catholic Monarchs (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) completed the great work of the artillery barrier in 1483.
The main function of the castle from its creation was defensive, but in addition to being a militarily strategic place, its rooms were used as an archive (where part of the crown's documents were kept) and as a prison for illustrious prisoners such as Hernando Pizarro and César Borgia. It was one of the targets of Charles V's imperial troops during the revolt of the Comuneros in 1520.
After the Spanish Civil War, in the 1940s, the interior building was rebuilt to house the Escuela de Mandos de la Sección Femenina, a centre for women's social service.
Today the castle belongs to the Junta de Castilla y León, and is currently used for both tourism and as a training centre for courses and congresses.
The monumentality of the Collegiate Church of San Antolín, the work of Juan Gil de Hontañón, houses the banner of the Catholic Monarchs. The origins of the Castilian-Leonese municipality date back to pre-Romanesque times and its heyday was in the Middle Ages with its famous fairs and markets of international renown.
Most of them took place in the Plaza Mayor, an immense open space enclosed by aseptic buildings, full of the commercial and administrative offerings that mark the local pulse. Here are concentrated the large buildings representing the three traditional powers: the Municipality (Town Hall), the Church (Collegiate Church of San Antolin) and the Crown (Royal Palace).
In 1978, the historic quarter of Medina was declared a Historic-Artistic Site. The town of Valladolid is also the capital of the Rueda Designation of Origin, an important area dedicated to wine production for centuries in the region, where there are more than 80 wineries.
The intense commercial activity that took place between the 15th and 16th centuries led to the construction of numerous civil and religious buildings. Among them, the Convent of Santa María Magdalena stands out, which has a Gothic church decorated with beautiful frescoes by Luis Vélez, as well as a magnificent Calvary by the sculptor Esteban Jordán.
In terms of civil architecture, one of the most unique buildings is the Palacio de los Dueñas, a Renaissance construction with a spectacular two-storey colonnaded courtyard.
For relaxation, there is nothing better than a visit to the Las Salinas Spa Palace, on the outskirts of Medina del Campo. Its thermal waters are rated as the most mineralised in the world.
Medina del Campo's relationship with monarchs, members of the Court and other prominent figures is perhaps its most unique feature. Three Aragonese kings were born here (Fernando I of Antequera, Alfonso V and Juan II), and Leonor Urraca of Castile (wife of Antequera and queen consort of Aragon) and Isabella the Catholic herself took their last steps here.
The latter, moreover, wrote her last will and testament within the walls of the Royal Palace. A will in which she named her daughter Juana la Loca and her husband Ferdinand the Catholic as rulers of Castile.