Follow us on
Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Special Reports
El Escorial, Alcalá and Aranjuez: a walk through Madrid's heritage
Friday September 6, 2013 5:53 PM, EFE

Aranjuez PalaceSan Lorenzo del Escorial, Alcalá de Henares and Aranjuez have a lot in common: They are Unesco Heritage enclaves and are also denominated "Legacy Cities" of Spanish capital Madrid.

The Royal Palace of San Lorenzo del Escorial became a Unesco Heritage site in 1984. The Basilica, Felipe II's rooms, its library with more than 6.000 manuscripts and the Friars' Garden are testimony to this. But these are only a few architectural attractions of this beautiful town, framed by Abantos Hill and Herreria Mount, where every year a huge peregrination takes place.

At the centre of the town, San Lorenzo del Escorial delights the visitor with several edifications designed by Juan Villanueva (18th century exponent of neoclassical architecture), and its cobbled streets, really impressive due to their verticality.

Several restaurants offer dishes such as roasted lamb or a famous stew - Madrid "cocido" - that is served in the El Charoles outlet.

Alcaláde Henares
Alcaláde Henares, declared a World Heritage site in 1998, is the first university city in the world planned specifically for this purpose.

It is here that one can visit the birthplace of noted Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, now converted into a museum.

The city also hosts the Magistral Cathedral, one of two such in the world, along with the St. Peter's in Louvaine. This means that all of its canons had to be the magister of the university. Late Gothic in style, finished with a Herrera which dominates the belfry, is the main architectural characteristic of this imposing building which stands out in the city.

A must-visit is also the Archiepiscopal Palace, residence of the archbishops of Toledo. Moorish, Renacentist, and Baroque styles coexist in this building.

The well-known Hospederia del Estudiante (Student's Inn) mixes tourism and gastronomy, offering pure Castillian cooking with dishes like migas ilustradas (fried breadcrumbs), sopa boba (a kind of soup), salads, roasts and stews.

Aranjuez: Royalty and strawberries
Aranjuez had to wait until 2001 to be declared a World Heritage City. Its environment and architectural wealth are testimony to the perfect coexistence between art and nature.

The Royal Palace and its gardens constitute the most popular monument of this town. Located between the Tajo and Jarama rivers, this Herrera style building's main facade has the statues of the three kings who helped in its construction: Felipe II, Fernando VI and Carlos III. Its white and red facade and the rococo balustrade staircase are its other important characteristics. The palace gardens are a huge open space with canals and several fountains.

At lunch time, garden products and, especially, the famous Aranjuez strawberries, are the stars of the local gastronomy.

But this is not all the area around Madrid has to offer to visitors. Many other towns and cities host beautiful buildings, which make this province a unique mix of culture and art.

A good example is Chinchon's Plaza Mayor. Dating to the Middle Ages, this follows the round structure of many Castilian squares, guarded by an awesome lintel gallery and its wooden balconies.

No less impressive are the castles in Manzanares el Real and Buitrago de Lozoya. The first one, from the 15th century, has its base on an ancient Moorish chapel, with a Gothic gallery on the first floor, one of the most beautiful of its kind.

Buitrago de Lozoya, on the other hand, was built a century before, and so has a more impregnated Moorish pattern, whose main characteristic is its fine masonry. The town is also known for its Picasso Museum, which houses 50 works the famous Spanish painter gave to Eugenio Arias, his barber.

How to get there:
There are no direct flights from India to Spain. Take a flight to a European hub like Frankfurt or London and thence a flight to Madrid.

From Madrid to:
San Lorenzo de El Escorial

By car: The A6 highway will take you there in less than an hour; another option is following the M550.

By train: Line C8a of Madrid Short distance train.

By bus: Lines 661 and 664 that start in Moncloa bus station

Eateries: La Buganvilla, La Fonda Genara, Alaska.

Look out for:
Violet caramels, Bizcochelas (Cake made with chocolate and candied egg yolk).

Alcalá de Henares
By car: Through highways A2 (Exit 28) and R2 (Exit 28), 30 minutes from Madrid.

By train: Lines C2 and C7.

By bus: Line 223, starting at Avenida de America bus station and stopping

also at Madrid's Barajas airport.

Eateries: Restaurante El Gato de Tres Patas, Restaurante Sexto Sentido and
Restaurante Patrimonio.

Look out for: Costrada (cake with cream, toasted almonds and meringue), Alcalá (sweet bagels filled with cream), Garrapinada (almonds covered in caramel from Clarisas' convent)

Aranjuez
By car: On A4 or R4 (Exit 47), a 45-minute drive

By train: Line C3 of the short distance service.

By bus: Lines 419 and 423 leaving from Madrid Estacion Sur (Mendez Álvaro)

Eateries: Restaurante Vivaldi, Restaurante Carême, Restaurante Casa Pablo

Look out for: Aranjuez asparagus (really tender and easily recognizable by its bright green colour) and Aranjuez strawberries (sweet and big, they are the best in the region).

[Photo Caption: Aranjuez Palace Gardens. EFE Paco Torrente (Credit EFE Photo)]



More Headlines
Mamata to Muslim clerics: Will not let you starve
India, Japan expand currency swap pact to $50 bn
Woman raped in Varanasi 'ashram', ascetic arrested
Chandigarh's most-guarded complex feels insecure
Kashmir gears up for its biggest extravaganza

When Kalam hawked newspapers to battle poverty
Kerala firm's 'she toilets' bag Skoch Awards 2013
Parliament passes land acquisition bill
Rajya Sabha nod to bill on judges' appointments
Slaughtered bodies from Iron Age found in Britain
Life comes to a standstill for Seemandhra's 50 million people
BRICS nations call for orderly stimulus withdrawal

Indian diarist Sushmita Banerjee shot dead in Afghanistan

Share this page
 Comments
Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com
comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement
| Quick links
About ummid.com
Contact us
Feedback
Subscribe to: RSS » Facebook » Twitter » Newsletter
Ummid.com: Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange
Ummid.com is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.
© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.