THE VIA DE LA PLATA ROUTE
SPAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
La Via de la Plata Route or Route of the Silver starts in the city of Gijon and finishes in the south of the country at the city of Seville. You can follow this route by either walking, cycling or on horseback but the distance this route covers makes it ideal to go by car or motorbike. For those who want to know Spain from top to bottom then this trip is an experience beyond your expectations, unlike any other tourist route and a real feast for the senses and imagination. Without doubt it will become one of the best experiences of your life.
You can do La Via de la Plata Route both ways either from north to south or from south to north. We recommend starting La Via de la Plata Route in Asturias and spending some days here getting to know the region and in case you do it in summer, getting a chance to acclimatise to the rising temperatures of the south of Spain. Along the way you will pass through the communities of Asturias, Castilla Leon, Extremadura and Andalucía experiencing the richness and dramatic changes in environment, landscapes, culture and gastronomy of the real Spain.
You will travel from the majestic mountains to the flat infinite landscapes of central Spain. Travellers get to witness Roman, Medieval and Arabic architecture and hear the mystical Celtic music of the north to the flamboyant and passionate flamenco music of the south. The diverse gastronomy on offer will tantalise your taste buds and excellent dishes will punctuate the trip as you savour the heart warming stews, succulent meats, fresh fish and shellfish, refreshing cider, complex and classic Ribera wines, some of the finest Spanish cured meats and local cheeses, roasted suckling lamb and pig and finally ending with fried or delicately salted fish, energising gazpacho soups and the some of the finest sherry wines the country has to offer.
Also, La Via de la Plata Route is a perfect trip for ornithologists and bird lovers with many organised routes to visit according to the different habitats of Asturias, Castilla Leon, Extremadura and Andalucía, ranging from high mountains down to the coastlines and from the north to the south of the country, which will enable birdwatchers to contemplate a very complete diversity of habitats and species of great interest.
HISTORY OF THE VIA DE LA PLATA ROUTE
In Roman times, and especially during the reigns of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian, a grand access route was created in the west of the peninsula that linked the Cantabrian coast with the lands of the south of Hispania. Goods, troops, traders and travelers moved in continuous transit along this trail, which favored the spreading of Roman culture, its language and way of life, at the same time as facilitating the control of the territory that the administration of the Roman Empire required.
La Via de la Plata Route continued to be used over the centuries, both by Arabs as well as Christians during the Middle Ages, and went on to play an important role in the communications network of the Iberian Peninsula.
Throughout their empire, the Romans built several thousand kilometers of roads that formed a complex communications network made up of diverse types of thoroughfares. The importance of the route La Via de la Plata Route, together with the geography of the places through which it passed, determined to a certain extent, by the building system chosen in each case.
Side retaining walls or calzos -from which the name calzada (road) is derived- were built on the slopes of mountainous regions, whereas, constructions ranging from small drains up to large bridges were built to control and cross streams and rivers. Some of these constitute as veritable feats of engineering, employing complex systems of falsework in their construction.
The mastery of building techniques in Roman times is evident in the construction of large bridges, which 2,000 years later remain as grand monuments at the same time as fulfilling their purpose
CONNECTION BETWEEN ” LA VIA DE LA PLATA ROUTE” AND THE “SANTIAGO ROUTE”
La Via de la Plata Route, after the presence of the Roman World, was used as a communication route by successive inhabitants of the Peninsula and from the ninth century it started to be frequented as a pilgrimage road. It was then when it began to be known as “El Camino Mozárabe de Santiago” because the Christians living in Muslim territory took advantage of the roads infrastructure to allow them to travel towards Santiago.
LA VIA DE LA PLATA ROUTE IN ASTURIAS
The Route starts in Gijon which is the Seaport of La Via de la Plata. Gijón keeps its Roman past alive through the actions taken in the Campa de Torres archeological site, one of the main fortified settlements of the north of Spain (before 490 B.C.) and especially in the restored thermal complex of baths at Campo Valdés, a public building which dates from the 1st century A.D.
The territory was occupied continuously during the Middle Ages; proof of this can be seen in the Romanesque churches dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. The founding of the Puebla (Village) in 1270 implied an urban expansion that was to come to a standstill at the end of the 14th century when Gijón became the stage for the Trastámara conflicts during which the town was almost completely destroyed.
Other examples of the Romans presence are the Roman Walls or the “Veranes Roman Village”.
Other places that are part of the Route are Llanera, Ribera de Arriba with its Roman Road (Picullanza); Morcin; Riosa; Mieres wih its Roman remains of La Carisa (Ujo) Roman Road, the Lucio Corona votive altar, the Nimmedo Seddiago altar, or the Gayo Sulpicio stele, three of them in the Provincial Museum of Archaeology. Also the council of Aller, with La Carisa Roman Camp (Curriechos Mountain Peak), Votive altar devoted to Jupiter (Serrapio), La Carisa Roman Road and La Pola de Lena with La Carisa Camp (Curriechos Mountain Peak), the Mamorama Mosaic where you will find in the Provincial Museum of Archaeology and La Carisa Roman Road.
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