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Benavente is next to Toro and Zamora, one of the three most important cities in the Zamora province. Its importance is due to having been an important communications hub between the plateau and the north, as well as being part of the Jacobean route of the Vía de la Plata. But if there is one fact that forever marked the history of Spain, it is that the treaty of union of the kingdoms of León and Castile was signed here, a precursor to the unity of the country in the person of King Ferdinand III.

The historic center of Benavente is not too big but it is full of buildings and very interesting spaces to visit. In fact, some of them have the category of Goods of Cultural Interest, such as: La Torre del Caracol, Hospital de la Piedad and the Churches of Santa María del Azogue and San Juan del Mercado.

Snail Tower

Of the magnificent castle-palace of the Pimentel, counts of Benavente, the so-called Torre del Caracol is preserved, which dates from the XNUMXth century and mixes styles such as Gothic or Renaissance. However, inside it highlights its beautiful Moorish coffered ceiling. Construction of the castle began around the XNUMXth century and underwent many renovations in subsequent centuries. At present, after being conditioned, it is used as a Parador de Turismo.

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Gardens of La Mota

A visit to the parador allows us to discover the Jardines de la Mota taking a quiet walk to rest and admire the views of the plains of the Esla and Órbigo rivers from its excellent viewpoint.

This place has a music pavilion and several garden areas such as the so-called Jardines de la Rosaleda, which is located next to the Palacio de los Pimentel. Here is the monument to the County of Benavente, which represents the head of a brave warrior with wings and with the coat of arms of the founder of the county of Benavente, the Portuguese knight Don Joâo Afonso Pimentel.

Solita case

The Casa de Solita is located next to the viewpoint and the Jardines de la Mota. It is a representative bourgeois palace from the beginning of the XNUMXth century with beautiful views of the plain that was converted into a cultural center with free access. Its modernist decoration and its rooms are very striking.

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Church of Santa María del Azogue

From the Casa de Solita we head to the church of Santa María del Azogue, whose construction began in the XNUMXth century, although its completion encompasses different styles and stages.. The general plan and the head belong to the Romanesque, while the interior stands out for the greatness of its transept and the breadth of its naves as well as for its four chapels where the most interesting are the Sacristy and the Jesús Nazareno. As for the carvings, the church of Santa María del Azogue keeps that of the Virgen de la Vega (patron saint of the city) and that of the Annunciation. As for the frescoes, we have the Gothic style one dedicated to San Cristóbal. Finally in this temple we mention the tower with the bell tower, which is square in plan topped by a slate spire.

Reina Sofía Theater

This building was built on the premises of the old Santo Domingo Monastery, of which some remains are preserved. Its elegant façade is decorated with niches and garlands and gives access to an interior with large hallways. As for its characteristics, it follows the parameters of romantic theaters. Around the stalls there are three floors of boxes in addition to the stalls.

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Hospital of Mercy

Founded as a pilgrims' hospital by Don Alonso Pimentel V Count of Benavente, its façade is a perfect example of the first renaissance, when Gothic influences still persisted. Inside there is a courtyard with a square plan, two floors and the entrance to the chapel where the tomb of the founders' nephew, Juan Pimentel, is located.

Church of San Juan de Mercado

To the left of the consistory is the church of San Juan del Mercado, another of the Romanesque jewels of the city built on behalf of the Hospitaller Order of San Juan.

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