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Palencia is a city south of Tierra de Campos, in north-northwest Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, the capital of the province of Palencia
Palencia (province)
Palencia is a province of northern Spain, in the northern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is bordered by the provinces of León, Cantabria, Burgos, and Valladolid....

 in the autonomous community
Autonomous communities of Spain
An autonomous community In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian .*Galician .*Basque . The second article of the constitution recognizes the rights of "nationalities and regions" to self-government and declares the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation".Political power in Spain is...

 of Castile-Leon. The municipality had a population of 82,626 in 2008.


Palencia lies in the north sector of the central Spanish plateau, the Meseta Central, in the middle of the Carrión
Carrion refers to the carcass of a dead animal. Carrion is an important food source for large carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems. Examples of carrion-eaters include vultures, hawks, eagles, hyenas, Virginia Opossum, Tasmanian Devils, coyotes, Komodo dragons, and burying beetles...

 river valley, near the river's confluence with the Pisuerga, which flows through the town and creates four islands, Dos Aguas and Sotillo being the biggest ones.

Two hills surround the city in its north-east area. At the closest one stands the huge statue of Christ known as El Cristo del Otero, the third biggest Christ statue in the world after the one of Rio de Janeiro.

Palencia has a big forest of 1438 hectares (3,553.4 acre) 6 km away. Inhabitants call it "Monte el Viejo" ("Old Mount"). This park is a popular amusement area for the locals.

The Canal de Castilla runs close to the city.

Palencia's municipality includes the village of Paredes de Monte, 14 km away.


The region of Palencia has a Continental Mediterranean climate with very cool winters, due to altitude (749 m) and isolation from maritime influences
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

, chilly winds, including some days of snow in the winter and minimum temperatures usually below 0 °C (32 °F). Fogs are also frequent because of the Carrion river. Summer tends to be warm and nice with temperatures that consistently surpass 25 °C (77 °F) in July and that can rarely reach 30 °C (86 °F). Due to Palencia's altitude, nightly temperatures tend to be cooler, leading to a lower average in the summer months. Precipitation levels are moderated, but precipitation can be observed throughout the year (except July and August). Summer and winter are the driest seasons, with most rainfall occurring in the autumn and spring.[14]

Ancient era

The fortified Celtiberian
The Celtiberians were Celtic-speaking people of the Iberian Peninsula in the final centuries BC. The group used the Celtic Celtiberian language.Archaeologically, the Celtiberians participated in the Hallstatt culture in what is now north-central Spain...

 settlement is mentioned as Pallantia by Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 and Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, a version possibly of the Celtic root pala ("plain"). It was the chief town of the Vaccaei, although Strabo wrongly assigns it to the Arevaci
The Arevaci or ‘Aravaci’ , were a pre-Roman Celtic people who settled in the Meseta Central of northern Hispania and which dominated most of Celtiberia from the 4th to late 2nd centuries BC...

. The city was starved into submission by the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 in the 2nd century BCE and incorporated into the province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 of Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

, in the jurisdiction of Colonia Clunia Sulpicia (modern Clunia)
Clunia was an ancient Roman city. Its remains are located on Alto de Castro, at more than 1000 metres above sea level, between the villages of Peñalba de Castro and Coruña del Conde, 2 km away from the latter, in the province of Burgos in Spain...

. Though the little Roman garrison city was an active mint, it was insignificant compared to the Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

s of Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 in the surrounding territory. Archeologists have uncovered the remains of Roman villas at La Olmeda
La Olmeda
The palatial Late Antique Roman villa at La Olmeda is situated in Pedrosa de la Vega in the province of Palencia , near the banks of the Carrión...

 and at the "Quintanilla de la Cueza," where the fragments of mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 floors are spectacularly refined. According to the 5th-century Galician chronicler Idatius
Hydatius or Idacius , bishop of Aquae Flaviae in the Roman province of Gallaecia was the author of a chronicle of his own times that provides us with our best evidence for the history of the Iberian Peninsula in the 5th century.-Life:Hydatius was born around the year 400 in the...

, the city of Palencia was all but destroyed (457) in the Visigothic wars against the Suevi: the date falls in the reign of Theodoric II
Theodoric II
Theodoric II was King of Visigoths from 453 to 466.Theoderic II, son of Theodoric I, obtained the throne by killing his elder brother Thorismund...

, whose power center still lay far to the east, in Aquitania
Aquitania may refer to:* the territory of the Aquitani, a people living in Roman times in what is now Aquitaine, France* Aquitaine, a region of France roughly between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean and the Garonne, also a former kingdom and duchy...

. When the Visigoths conquered the territory, however, they retained the Roman rural villa system in establishing the Campos Góticos.


In the city itself, the Catholic bishopric of Palencia had been founded in the 3rd century or earlier, assuming that its bishop was among those assembled in the 3rd century to depose Basilides, bishop of Astorga. With the arrival of effective Visigothic power, official Arians
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 and opposition Catholics disputed the bishopric of Palencia. Priscillian
Priscillian was bishop of Ávila and a theologian from Roman Gallaecia , the first person in the history of Christianity to be executed for heresy . He founded an ascetic group that, in spite of persecution, continued to subsist in Hispania and Gaul until the later 6th century...

's ascetic heresy, which originated in Galicia, spread over the Tierra de Campos ruled by the Arian Visigoths, and was opposed by Toribius, Bishop of Astorga. Maurila, an Arian bishop established in Palencia by Leovigild, followed King Reccared
Reccared I was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia. His reign marked a climactic shift in history, with the king's renunciation of traditional Arianism in favour of Catholic Christianity in 587.Reccared was the younger son of King Liuvigild by his first wife Theodosia...

's conversion to Catholicism (587), and in 589 he assisted at the Third Council of Toledo
Third Council of Toledo
The Third Council of Toledo marks the entry of Catholic Christianity into the rule of Visigothic Spain, and the introduction into Western Christianity of the filioque clause...

Bishop Conantius, the biographer of Saint Ildephonsus, assisted at synods and councils in Toledo and composed music and a book of prayers from the Psalms; he ruled the see for more than thirty years, and had for his pupil Fructuosus of Braga
Fructuosus of Braga
Saint Fructuosus of Braga was the Bishop of Dumio and Archbishop of Braga, a great founder of monasteries, who died April 16, 665. He was the son of a Visigothic dux in the region of Bierzo and he accompanied his father at a young age on certain official trips over his estates...


Muslim rule and bishopric restoration

When the Moors arrived in the early 8th century, resistance was fragmented among bishops in control of the small walled towns and the territorial magnates in their fortified villas. A concerted resistance seems to have been ineffective, and the fragmented system crumbled villa by villa. Palencia was insignificant: Moorish writers only once cite the border city in the division of the provinces previous to the Ummayyad dynasty. The diocese of Palencia was but a name— a "titular see
Titular see
A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese". The ordinary or hierarch of such a see may be styled a "titular bishop", "titular metropolitan", or "titular archbishop"....

"— until Froila, Count of Villafruela, succeeded in retaking the area of the see in 921, but the true restorer of Christian power was Sancho III of Navarre
Sancho III of Navarre
Sancho III Garcés , called the Great , succeeded as a minor to the Kingdom of Navarre in 1004, and through conquest and political maneuvering increased his power, until at the time of his death in 1035 he controlled the majority of Christian Iberia, bearing the title of rex Hispaniarum...

. At Palencia El Cid
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar , known as El Cid Campeador , was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat...

 married his Ximena in 1074.

The first prelate of the restored see (1035) is said to have been Bernardo, whom Sancho gave feudal command over the city and its lands, with the various castles and the few abbeys.

Bernardo was born in France or Navarre, and devoted himself to the reconstruction of the original cathedral built over the crypt of the local Saint Antolín (Antoninus of Pamiers
Antoninus of Pamiers
Saint Antoninus of Pamiers was an early Christian missionary and martyr, called the "Apostle of the Rouergue". His life is dated to the first, second, fourth, and fifth century by various sources, since he often confused with various other venerated Antonini. Today he is revered as the patron...

), the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of Palencia, who is venerated here alone, with his Ferias, a moveable feast in September. The cathedral was rebuilt again three centuries later. Its principal treasures were relics of Antoninus, formerly venerated in Aquitania, whence they had been brought.

Alfonso VI conferred many privileges on Bernardo's successor, Raimundo. Pedro of Agen in France, one of the noted men brought in by Bishop Bernardo of Toledo, succeeded Bishop Raimundo. A supporter of Queen Urraca
Urraca or Hurraca is a feminine given name, the same as the Spanish word for magpie, derived perhaps from Latin furax, meaning "thievish", in reference to the magpie's tendency to collect shiny items...

, he was imprisoned by Alfonso I of Aragon. In 1113 a provincial council was held in Palencia by Archbishop Bernardo to quell the disorders of the epoch. The long and beneficent administration of Pedro was succeeded by that of Pedro II, who died in Almeria and was succeeded by Raimundo II. Bishop Tello
Tello was the Bishop of Chur from 758/759 until his death. He was the last member of the ecclesiastical dynasty of the Victorids to wield power in Rhaetia through his control of the bishopric...

 took part in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab , took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain...

 in 1212, where Palencia won the right to emblazon the cross over its castle.

Later bishops

In 1410 Bishop Sancho de Rojas fought at the battle of Antequera, where the Infante Ferdinand
Ferdinand I of Aragon
Ferdinand I called of Antequera and also the Just or the Honest) was king of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica and king of Sicily, duke of Athens and Neopatria, and count of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdanya...

, regent of Castile and León, defeated Mohammed VII, king of Granada, and in the Treaty of Caspe he aided Ferdinand to secure the crown of Aragon.
Saint Vincent Ferrer
Vincent Ferrer
Saint Vincent Ferrer was a Valencian Dominican missionary and logician.-Early life:Vincent was the fourth child of the Anglo-Scottish nobleman William Stewart Ferrer and his Spanish wife, Constantia Miguel. Legends surround his birth...

 preached in Palencia, so successfully converting thousands of Jews, the Catholic sources tell, that he was permitted to employ the synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 for his new-founded hospital of San Salvador, later joined to that of S. Antolin.
The successive bishops of Palencia, who, as feudal lords, were invariably members of the noble families, include:
  • Munio de Zamora
    Munio de Zamora
    Munio de Zamora became the seventh Master General of the Dominican Order in 1285, thanks in large part to the manipulations performed by his patron Sancho IV of Castile...

  • Sancho de Rojas
  • Rodrigo de Velasco (died 1435)
  • Pedro de Castilla (1440–1461)
  • Rodrigo Sanchez de Arévalo
    Rodrigo Sánchez de Arévalo
    Rodrigo Sánchez de Arévalo was a Spanish churchman, historian and political theorist....

    , author of a history of Spain in Latin (1466)
  • Iñigo López de Mendoza (1472–1485)
  • Fray Alonso de Burgos (1485–1499)
  • Bishop Fonseca (1505–1514)
  • La Gasca (1550–1561)
  • Zapata (1569–1577)
  • Alvaro de Mendoza
  • Gabino-Alejandro Carriedo (1923–1981)

Main sights

The Roman bridge across the Carrión
Carrión River
The Carrión is a river in northern Spain. Its source is in the mountain range called Fuentes Carrionas, and it is a tributary of the river Pisuerga. The entire course of the river is within the province of Palencia....

 river was replaced by the medieval one of three arches: the old section of the city is on the left bank, the modern suburban development is on the right bank: it seems likely that the first inhabitants settled on the right bank, and later moved to the left bank—set in higher ground—because of the frequent floodings.

The old city walls more than 10 meters high can still be traced; the alamedas or promenades along them were laid out in 1778. The flamboyant Gothic Cathedral
Palencia Cathedral
Palencia Cathedral is situated in Palencia, Spain. It is dedicated to Saint Antoninus of Pamiers ....

, built from 1321 to 1504 and dedicated to San Antolín
Antoninus of Pamiers
Saint Antoninus of Pamiers was an early Christian missionary and martyr, called the "Apostle of the Rouergue". His life is dated to the first, second, fourth, and fifth century by various sources, since he often confused with various other venerated Antonini. Today he is revered as the patron...

, stands over a low vaulted Visigothic crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

; its museum contains a number of important works of art, including a retablo
A retable is a framed altarpiece, raised slightly above the back of the altar or communion table, on which are placed the cross, ceremonial candlesticks and other ornaments....

of twelve panels by Juan de Flandes
Juan de Flandes
Juan de Flandes was an Early Netherlandish painter who was active in Spain from 1496 to 1519; his actual name is unknown, although an inscription Juan Astrat on the back of one work suggests a name such as "Jan van der Staat"...

, court painter to Queen Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

. The Archeological Museum contains Celtiberian
The Celtiberians were Celtic-speaking people of the Iberian Peninsula in the final centuries BC. The group used the Celtic Celtiberian language.Archaeologically, the Celtiberians participated in the Hallstatt culture in what is now north-central Spain...


Palencia is also famous for the 13th-century church of San Miguel, the San Francisco church and the Benedictine monastery of San Zoilo, housed in an 18th-century rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 structure by Juan de Badajoz. The Calle Mayor (Main Sreet), is a pedestrian, 900-metres long street where many fairy examples of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century architecture can be found.

A short distance south of the city, in the village of Baños de Cerrato, is the oldest church on the peninsula
Church of San Juan Bautista, Baños de Cerrato
San Juan de Baños de Cerrato is a monument located in the present day town of Baños de Cerrato, ancient Balneos, in the province of Palencia, central Spain....

, a 7th-century basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 dedicated to Saint John and built by the Visigoth
The Visigoths were one of two main branches of the Goths, the Ostrogoths being the other. These tribes were among the Germans who spread through the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period...

 King Reccaswinth (died 672).


Palencia's population has slightly grown in the last 10 years, from 78,800 inhabitants in the year 1996 to 82,626 in 2008. The town has historically been an inner immigration centre, mostly during the decades of 1950–1970 and has received rural immigrants given its industrial developments. Nevertheless, it is an over-aged population due to youth emigration to bigger cities such as Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

, Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 or Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...



The first university
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 in Spain, the studium generale of Palencia was founded by Alfonso VIII
Alfonso VIII of Castile
Alfonso VIII , called the Noble or el de las Navas, was the King of Castile from 1158 to his death and King of Toledo. He is most remembered for his part in the Reconquista and the downfall of the Almohad Caliphate...

 in 1208; however, the school did not long survive him. It has been suggested that the 13th-century poet Gonzalo de Berceo
Gonzalo de Berceo
Gonzalo de Berceo was a Spanish poet born in the Riojan village of Berceo, close to the major Benedictine monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla...

 studied at the University during its brief existence. The teachers from Palencia were drawn to the thriving University of Salamanca
University of Salamanca
The University of Salamanca is a Spanish higher education institution, located in the town of Salamanca, west of Madrid. It was founded in 1134 and given the Royal charter of foundation by King Alfonso IX in 1218. It is the oldest founded university in Spain and the third oldest European...


By car

Palencia is well-linked to other town and cities of Spain by roads and highways:


A - 62 Valladolid / Madrid

A - 65 Benavente/ León / Asturias / Galicia

A - 67 Santander

CL - 610 => A -62 Burgos / Bilbao / Zaragoza / Barcelona
Autonomic Roads

C - 613 Sahagún

C - 615 Guardo / Riaño

C - 619 Aranda de Duero / Soria

In addition, Palencia has an bus station located next to the train station. ALSA and other bus companies links Palencia to many cities and town from Spain and it is specially useful for travelling to places not linked by train, such as the south-west of Spain.

By train

The city also has a busy railway station, given its strategical location as a hub for north and north-west railway connections in Spain. There are several services to Valladolid, Madrid, León, Burgos, Vitoria and Santander, 3 daily trains to Barcelona, Bilbao, A Coruña, Santiago, Oviedo and Zaragoza, 1 daily train to Albacete and Alicante.

In 2012, the Spanish high-speed train service, the AVE, will stop at Palencia bringing the town within just 1h 20m from Madrid (240 km away).
AVE will also bring important changes for the urban development of the town, since it will suppose the burying of the railway that divides Palencia in two separate parts, ending and historical claim of local inhabitants.

Air transporation

Valladolid Airport
Valladolid Airport
Valladolid Airport is an airport situated in the municipality of Villanubla, ten kilometres northwest of Valladolid, Spain.The new passenger terminal was inaugurated in 2000, and its main features are its clean, functional design, emphasised by spaciousness and numerous aesthetically pleasing...

 is the closest airport to the city. It offers daily flights to Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, London, Brussels and other destinations.

Sustainable mobility

Palencia is doing some efforts concerning sustainable mobility, such as extending a free bicycle loan system, implementing pedestrian areas at the town center or promoting public transport 100% clean.

Local cuisine

The main speciality of Palencia is lechazo (baby lamb that has only drunk its mother's milk). The lechazo is slowly roasted in a wood oven and served with salad. The menestra de verduras (a mix of vegetables cooked with little pieces oh Spanish ham, onion, garlic and spices) is also very well known and tasty.

Palencia also offers a great assortment of lettuces, leeks, wild mushrooms, peppers, asparagus, endives and beans. Some legumes, like white beans and lentils are particularly good and cooked in hot dishes with chorizo.

The sopa de ajo (dried bread mixed with paprika, water and garlic slowly cooked for hours) is a beloved dish for cold winter days.
Morcilla is a pigs-blood sausage, a staple country food famous across the Iberian peninsula. Spiced with onions and herbs its most noticeable content is rice (often mistaken for fat by foreigners) which makes it one of the lightest and healthiest products of its kind. In Palencia, the most famous one is the Fuenteadrino's morcilla, including pine kernels.

Despite being an inland province, fish is quite commonly consumed. Brought from the Cantabrian Sea, fish like red bream and hake are a major part of Palencia's cuisine.
Rivers from the Cantabric Mountains bring the famous trouts, grilled with bacon, and crayfishes, which are cooked with a thick tomato and onion sauce.

Palencia has a bread to go with every dish, like the fabiolas, roscas or panes.

The pastries and baked goods from the province of Palencia are well-known. Rice pudding and leche frita or fried milk (a mix of milk, sugar, flour and cinnamon with a delicious and jelly-like texture) are favourite desserts.

Palencia is also a producer of wines. The ones that fall under the Designation of Origin Arlanza are becoming very good and similar in taste and quality to those of Ribera del Duero and Toro.

The town owns a particular and proud record: the Spanish ommelette from La Encina Restaurant has been awarded for 4 consecutive year as the best one in Spain.

See also

  • List of Spanish cities
  • Palencia (province)
    Palencia (province)
    Palencia is a province of northern Spain, in the northern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is bordered by the provinces of León, Cantabria, Burgos, and Valladolid....

  • List of municipalities in Palencia

External links