The walls of Zamora protect a very old fortified city which is situated on a promontory above the River Duero. Many of the walls are still in place, particularly on the north side of the old town and we set out to try and find all three sets of walls.
First set of walls
The first walls date from the 11th century in the reign of Fernando I. Inside these walls are the cathedral and the castle, as well as the Bishop’s Palace. And today there is a park between the castle and the cathedral. It is a very quiet part of Zamora.
Hidden away next to the Bishop’s Palace is the original gate on the south side of the Zamora. I believe the original stone bridge would have crossed the river opposite the gate.
The gate on the northern side is the Gate of Betrayal which was renamed the Gate of Loyalty in 2010. It is close to the Church of San Isidoro. Legend has it that Zamora was besieged in the 11th century by King Sancho II of Castile. The king was assassinated by Vellido Dolfos, a Leonese nobleman, and Dolfos was pursued into the city by El Cid. But, there is no agreement on this.
The second set of walls of Zamora
As the city expanded a second set of walls was built in the 13th century. Nothing seems to remain inside the city apart from the gates at either end – the St Cyprian Gate and the Dona Urraca Gate. The Fort of Saint Sebastian has apparently been rebuilt and this is one of the towers on the walls along the Ronda de la Feria.
The third set of walls of Zamora
A third line of walls dates from the 14th century and large sections of the walls are still stand. According to the Guide Book there was a gate, or perhaps a fort, known as the Castiello de Sant Andres and this seems to involve the building behind the Church of St Andres, now a Seminary, and part of the road where there was a gate.
In the 1870s the city council apparently started selling off parts of the walls – something which seems quite extraordinary today. Today we are increasingly aware of national heritage and the attractiveness of history to tourists, and as part of this awareness the walls of Zamora are being restored as much as is practical.
Well done on tracking down all three ancient walls. And great photo of the new stone bridge (I like the reflections in the water).