The Sil is a river in León and Galicia, Spain, a tributary of the Miño. Its total length is 225 kilometres; the source of the Sil is in the Cantabrian Mountains in the Leonese town of Villablino. It flows through the provinces of Ourense; the largest city on the Sil is Ponferrada. The Sil flows into the Miño upstream from Ourense; the river joins the Miño river in Os Peares, in the province of Ourense. The hierarchy between rivers is performed by taking into account which junction has more volume and length. In this case, as with the Esla and Pisuerga with the Duero, the Sil has flows larger than the Miño at the junction. There is a saying that goes, "The Miño has the fame, but the Sil gives it water"; the Sil river surpasses the Miño in length by about 20 kilometres. The Sil runs through the León districts of Babia, Laciana, El Bierzo and La Cabrera, Ourense Valdeorras, among other locations across Villablino, Ponferrada, O Barco de Valdeorras, A Rúa, Quiroga and Ribas de Sil. Left bank: Valseco, Oza, Bibei and Mao.
Right bank: Caboalles, Barredos, Cúa, Selmo, Soldón, Lor and Cabe. The river has been a rich source of alluvial gold, was most extensively exploited during the Roman period, following the conquest of north-west Spain by Augustus in 25 BC; the upper reaches of the river possessed large placer deposits, the region around Las Médulas yielded large amounts of gold. It was extracted using hydraulic mining, involving the building of numerous aqueducts to expose and wash the alluvial formations. According to Pokorny and to E. Bascuas, "Sil" would belong to the old European hydronymy, derived from the Indoeuropean root *sei-'drip, humid'. List of rivers of Spain Rivers of Galicia
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
Ponferrada is the capital city of El Bierzo in the Province of León, Spain. It lies on Sil River and it is surrounded by mountains, it is the last major town on the French route of the Camino de Santiago before it reaches Santiago de Compostela. In 2008, it had a population of 69,769. In pre-Roman times the region was populated by a Hispano-Celtic Gallaecian people, they were conquered by Emperor Augustus in the Astur-Cantabrian Wars and the area became the largest mining center of the Empire during the Roman period, where gold and other metals and minerals were extracted. Numerous Roman mining sites are still visible in the area, one of the most spectacular being Las Médulas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Romans imported grapevines, wine production thrived in the region until the propagation of Phylloxera at the end of the 19th century, which destroyed the majority of the vineyards; the modern name of the city derives from the iron reinforcements added to the ancient bridge over the river Sil, commissioned in 1082 by Bishop Osmundo of Astorga to facilitate the crossing of the Sil River to pilgrims in their way to Santiago de Compostela.
The railroad arrived in Ponferrada in 1881, during World War I local tungsten deposits were exploited to supply the arms industry. In 1918 the Ponferrada Mining and Steel Company was founded to exploit coal deposits in the region, it grew to become Spain's largest coal mining corporation; the Spanish National Energy Corporation was founded in 1944 and in 1949 it opened Spain's first coal-fueled power plant in Ponferrada, Compostilla I. In 1960 the Bárcena Dam opened and by the second half of the 20th century the economy of the city was based on mining and electricity generation, both hydroelectric and coal-fueled. Starting in the late 1980s most mines were closed, after the collapse of the mining industry Ponferrada was for a while in a crisis. However, in the late 1990s the city underwent a major transformation with the establishment in the city of several industrial and services firms, the reintroduction of commercial wine production, the opening of a local branch of the University of León offering several undergraduate degrees, in general a radical improvement of the town's infrastructure.
The economy is now based on tourism, wind power generation and slate mining, with a mild but constant population increase. Important factors contributing to the recent boom of the tourism industry are the increasing popularity of the Way of St. James, the designation in 1997 of Las Médulas as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the development of rural tourism lodging and wineries in the area; the Energy City Foundation Spanish: Fundación Ciudad de la Energía was established in Ponferrada in 2006 and is overseeing the construction of the National Energy Museum in the city, as well as sponsoring several other initiatives that should further boost tourism and the economy of the city and its region. The tallest building in Ponferrada is the Torre de la Rosaleda in the Roseleda district. Ponferrada lies in the Way of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, every year many pilgrims pass through the city in their way to Santiago de Compostela. Las Médulas, ancient Roman gold mines included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List, are only a few kilometres away from the city.
Ponferrada is noted for its Castillo de los Templarios, a Templar castle which covers 16,000 square meters. In 1178, Ferdinand II of León donated the city to the Templar order for protecting the pilgrims on the Way of St. James who passed through El Bierzo in their road to Santiago de Compostela; the castle hosted the Knights Templar's Grand Master of Castille. However, the Templars were only able to enjoy the use of their fortress for about twenty years before the order was disbanded and its properties confiscated in 1311. Several noble houses fought over the assets until Alfonso XI allotted them to the Count of Lemos in 1340; the Catholic Monarchs incorporated Ponferrada and its castle into the Crown in 1486. As with many other historical sites in Europe, many of the blocks that at one point formed the walls of the castle were removed and used in local construction projects. Extensive restoration works are ongoing; the Basilica de la Encina is a church built in the Renaissance style in 1573.
Its baroque tower dates from 1614. The El Bierzo Museum offers a tour of the history of the region and hosts several important archeological pieces, while the Museum of Radio offers an interesting tour of the history of the radio in Spain; the National Energy Museum is under construction, sponsored by the Energy City Foundation. It will include the restored building and equipment of Compostilla I, Spain's first coal-fueled power plant opened in 1949 in Ponferrada; the church of Santiago de Peñalba, the Hermitage of Santo Tomás de las Ollas and the Romanesque Church of Santa María de Vizbayo are nearby. The city and its surroundings offer many opportunities for outdoor activities. There are many accessible hiking and cycling routes nearby, both on and off-road, including the 330 kilometer long La Mirada Circular which circles the whole El Bierzo valley. El Morredero peak, 20
Kingdom of León
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León; the County of Castile separated in 931, the County of Portugal separated to become the independent Kingdom of Portugal in 1139 and the eastern, inland part of León was joined to the Kingdom of Castile in 1230. From 1296 to 1301, the Kingdom of León was again independent and after the re-union with Castile remained a Crown until 1833, but as part of a united Spain from 1479. In the Royal Decree of 30 November 1833, the Kingdom of León was considered one of the Spanish regions and divided into the provinces of León, Zamora and Salamanca. In 1978, these three provinces of the region of León were included along with six provinces of the historic region of Old Castile to create the autonomous community of Castile and León. However, significant parts of the former kingdom today integrate these three provinces and the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Asturias.
The city of León was founded by the Roman Seventh Legion (usually written as Legio Septima Gemina. It was the headquarters of that legion in the late empire and was a centre for trade in gold, mined at Las Médulas nearby. In 540, the city was conquered by the Arian Visigothic king Liuvigild, who did not harass the well-established Roman Catholic population. In AD 717, León fell again. However, León was one of the first cities retaken during the Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula, became part of the Kingdom of Asturias in AD 742. León was a small town during this time, but one of the few former Roman cities in the Kingdom of Asturias which still held significance. During Visigothic times, the city had served as a bishopric, incorporating the city into Asturias brought legitimacy to the Asturian monarchs who sought to lead a unified Iberian church, during a time when most of the Iberian Peninsula was governed by Muslim powers. León was created as a separate kingdom when the Asturian king, Alfonso the Great, divided his realm among his three sons.
León was inherited by García I. His successor was Ordoño II of León. Ordoño II of León was a military leader who brought military expeditions from León south to Seville, Córdoba, Guadalajara, in the heart of the Muslim territory. After a few years of civil wars during the reign of Fruela II, Alfonso Fróilaz and Alfonso IV, Ramiro II assumed the throne and brought stability to the kingdom. A brave military chief who defeated the Muslim armies in their own territory, Ramiro's expeditions turned the Valley of the Douro into a no-man's land that separated Christian kingdoms in the north of Iberia from the Muslim states in the south. Ramiro II was nicknamed "The Devil" by Muslims because of his great military skill; as the Leonese troops advanced they were followed by a process of repoblación, which consisted of repopulating the Meseta high plains, with people coming from Galicia and from Asturias and León. This migration of Leonese peoples influenced the Leonese language. During the repoblación period, there arose a distinct form of art known as Mozarabic art.
Mozarabic art is a mixing of Visigoth and Byzantine elements. Notable examples of the Mozarabic style are the Leonese churches of San Miguel de Escalada and Santiago de Peñalba. During the early 10th century, León expanded to the south and east, securing territory that became the County of Burgos. Fortified with numerous castles, Burgos remained within Leon until the 930s, at which time Count Ferdinand II of Castile began a campaign to expand Burgos and make it independent and hereditary, he took for himself the title Count of Castile, in reference to the many castles of the territory, continued expanding his area at the expense of León by allying with the Caliphate of Córdoba, until AD 966, when he was defeated by Sancho I of León. The Kingdom of León continued to be the most important of all those of the Iberian Peninsula. However, Sancho III of Navarre took over Castile in the 1020s, managed León in the last year of his life, leaving Galicia to temporary independence. In the division of lands which followed his death, his son Fernando succeeded to the county of Castile.
Two years in 1037, he defeated the king of León who died in the battle and because Fernando was married to the king of León sister, he became king of León and Galicia. For nearly 30 years, until his death in 1065, he ruled over the kingdom of León and the county of Castile as Ferdinand I of León. Early in its existence, León lay directly to the north of the powerful Caliphate of Córdoba; when internal dissensions divided Al-Andalus loyalties in the 11th century, leading to an age of smaller Taifa successor states of the Caliphate, the Christian kingdoms, sending tribute to the Caliphate found themselves in a position to demand payments instead, in return for favours to particular factions or as simple extortion. Thus, though scarcely influenced by the culture of the successor territories of the former Caliphate, Ferdinand I followed the example of the counts of Barcelona and the kings of Aragon and became hugely wealthy from the parias of the Taifas; when he died in 1065, his territories and the parias were split among his three sons, of whom Alfonso emerged the victor in the classic fratricidal strife comm
Villafranca del Bierzo
Vilafranca del Bierzo is a village and municipality located in the comarca of El Bierzo, in the province of León, Castile and León, Spain. Villafranca del Bierzo lies 187 kilometers from Santiago de Compostela and is located between Ponferrada and O Cebreiro on the Way of St. James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela; the first human settlements in the area date to the Neolithic age, while the first known people living here were the Celtiberians, who lived in Bergidum known as Bergidum Flavium after the Roman conquest. In the Middle Ages, the town is first mentioned in 791; the origin of the modern town is connected to the Way of St. James, as a rest place for the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela beginning in the 9th century. In the Codex Calixtinus Villafranca is mentioned as an intermediate stage between Rabornal and Triacastela. In 1070, during the reign of Alfonso VI of León, a Cluniac monastery was founded here to cultivate wine, a borough of French pilgrims rose around it, from which the town's name stems.
Numerous hotels and hospitals were established in the town for the pilgrims. In the late 12th century Alfonso VII of León gave the lordship of Villafranca to his sister Sancha, it went to Urraca, wife of King Ferdinand II and to Teresa, wife of Alfonso IX, to numerous other noble people. In 1486 the lordship became a marquisate assigned to Luis Pimentel y Pacego: his daughter married Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, whose family thenceforth held the marquisate for centuries. During the Peninsular War Villafranca was the headquarters of the Galician army and was sacked three times by the English troops, was occupied by the French troops; the Spanish general Antonio Filangieri died here. The town was freed in 1810. Collegiate church of Santa María Church of St. John Church of St. Nicholas Church of Santiago the Apostle Monastery of St. Francis de Asís, of which only the late Romanesque church remains, with the upper façade and the two bell towers added in Baroque style during the 18th century. Castle of the Counts of Pena Ramiro, with four towers Palace of the Marquisses of Villafrance Palace of Torquemada The municipality comprises several villages: Villafranca del Bierzo / Vilafranca do Bierzo Vilela Valtuille de Arriba / Valtuílle de Arriba Valtuille de Abajo / Valtuílle de Abaixo Paradaseca Puente del Rey / Ponte do Rei Cela Ribón Veguellina / A Veigueliña Tejeira / Teixeira Villar de Acero / Vilar de Aceiro Campo del Agua / Campo da Lagúa Aira da Pedra Pobladura de Somoza / Poboadura da Somoza Paradiña Prado de Somoza / Prado da Somoza January 28, Santo Tirso February 3, San Blas May 1, Festa do Maio June, Poetry festivity July 25, Santiago August, Tourist festivities September 14, El Cristo 1st Luis Pimentel y Pacego 2nd Pedro Álvarez de Toledo 3rd Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo y Osorio.
The costs of the original construction were paid by Gabriel Robles, a native son who got rich mining silver in Peru. Www.villafrancadelbierzo.org
The Gallaeci, Callaeci or Callaici were a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia, the north-western corner of Iberia, a region corresponding to what is now northern Portugal, western Asturias and western Castile and León in Spain and during the Roman period. They spoke a Q-Celtic language related to Northeastern Hispano-Celtic called Gallaic, Gallaecian, or Northwestern Hispano-Celtic; the region was annexed by the Romans in the time of Caesar Augustus during the Cantabrian Wars, a war which initiated the assimilation of the Gallaeci into Latin culture. The fact that the Gallaeci did not adopt writing until contact with the Romans constrains the study of their earlier history. However, early allusions to this people are present in ancient Greek and Latin authors prior to the conquest, which allows the reconstruction of a few historical events of this people since the second century BC. Thanks to Silius Italicus, it is known that between the years 218 and 201 BC, during the Second Punic War, some Gallaecian troops were involved in the fight in the ranks of Carthaginian Hannibal against the Roman army of Scipio Africanus.
Silius Italicus added a short description of the Gallaecian contingent and their curious military tactics: The first known military conflict between Gallaeci and Romans is mentioned in Appian of Alexandria's book Iberiké, narrating events during the Lusitanian War. In 139 BC, after being cheated by the Lusitanian chief, Quintus Servilius Caepio's army devastated few Gallaecian and Vettonian regions; the attack on these Southern Gallaecian peoples, near the border with Vettones, was punishment for Gallaecian support to Lusitanians. Orosius mentioned that Brutus surrounded the Gallaeci, who were unaware, crushed sixty thousand of them who had come to the assistance of the Lusitani; the Romans were victorious only after a desperate and difficult battle and fifty thousand of them were slain in that battle, six thousand were captured, only some escaped. The legates Antistius and Firmius fought appalling battles and subdued the further parts of Gallaecia and mountainous and bordering the Atlantic.
Archaeologically, the Gallaeci were a local Atlantic Bronze Age people. During the Iron Age they received several influences, including from other Iberian cultures, from central-western Europe, from the Mediterranean; the Gallaeci dwelt in hill forts, the archaeological culture they developed is known by archaeologists as "Castro culture", a hill-fort culture with round houses. The Gallaecian way of life was based in land occupation by fortified settlements that are known in Latin language as "castrum" or oppida, being able to vary its size from a small village of less than one hectare, great walled citadels with more than 10 hectares denominated oppida being these latter more common in the Southern half of their traditional settlement around the Ave river; this livelihood in hillforts was common throughout Europe during the Bronze and Iron Ages, getting in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, the name of'Castro culture" or "hillfort's culture", which alludes to this type of settlement prior to the Roman conquest.
However, several Gallaecian hillforts continued to be inhabited until the 5th century AD. These fortified villages or cities tended to be located in the hills, rocky promontories and peninsulas near the seashore, as it improved visibility and control over territory; these settlements were strategically located for a better control of natural resources, including mineral ores such as iron. The Gallaecian hillforts and oppidas maintained a great homogeneity and presented clear commonalities; the citadels, functioned as city-states and could have specific cultural traits. The Gallaecian political organization is not known with certainty, but it is probable that they were divided into small independent states that comprised in its interior a great number of small hillforts, these stated were ruled by local petty kings, which the Romans called princeps as in other parts of Europe. Commonalities, including political ones, were effective and support between the cities that attempted to halt the Roman conquest of the Gallaecian lands and an successful attempt by Gallaecian warriors to drive the Romans out of Lusitania through the destruction of Roman settlements reaching the south of the Iberian Peninsula.
Some of the most famous cities were the wealthy and famously resistant city of Cinania, the notable city of Avobriga and its neighboring citadel, which allied with Rome, but became the leader for the Gallaeci resistance. The ruins of these cities may still exist today in Northern Portugal, although the location of each is still not attributed with certainty to some of the main Castro culture ruins; each Gallaecian considered himself a member of the hillfort where lived and the state / people to whom they belonged, that the Romans called populus, among all some of them left us their names: Arrotrebae, Praestamarici, etc. Gallaeci tribes: The Romans named the entire region north of the Douro, where the Castro culture existed, in honour of the castro people that settled in the area of Calle — the Callaeci; the Romans established a port in the south of the region which they called Portus Calle, today's Porto, in northern Portugal. When the Romans first conquered the Callaeci they ruled them as part of the province of Lusitania but created a new province of Callaecia or Ga
Province of Zamora
Zamora is a province of western Spain, in the western part of the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is bordered by the provinces of Ourense, León, Salamanca, by Portugal; the present-day province of Zamora was one of three provinces formed from the former Kingdom of León in 1833, when Spain was reorganized into 49 provinces. Of the 174,549 people in the province, nearly a third live in Zamora; this province has 250 municipalities. The Province of Zamora is in northwestern Spain where it borders on Portugal, which lies to the southwest. To the west lies the province of Ourense, to the north lies León, to the east lies Valladolid, to the south lies Salamanca; the River Esla rises in the Cantabrian Mountains in the north and flows southwards through the province before joining the River Douro which forms part of the boundary with Portugal. The Esla is the largest tributary of the Duero and where they join, discharges a greater quantity of water than that discharged by the Duero; the capital of the province is Zamora, situated in the south of the province on the banks of the Duero.
The province has a total area of 10,620 square kilometres. Its economy is agricultural and it has a tradition of sheep rearing, producing a large proportion of Spain's merino wool. A megalithic culture developed in this region of Spain around Aliste, there are many remaining signs of the presence of various cultures over the years. Salt mining took place at Villafáfila, stone forts were built on fertile plains and near rivers, others were built in the vicinity of mines where variscite and iron ore were extracted. Rock paintings have been discovered and artefacts found include everyday pottery and gold and silver jewellery. In the Iron Age, Celtic tribes built forts surrounded by moats but they were pastoral people, living in small villages, did not build cities, they left standing dolmens. The Romans first came to Spain in 218 BC, over the next three centuries there were various conflicts as the Romans advanced into Celtic lands; the Romans built roads across the territory and in 1978 the Roman town of Requejo in Santa Cristina de la Polvorosa was revealed after erosion occurred following flooding of the area by the River Órbigo.
In 197 BC, Spain was divided into two provinces, Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior, controlled by two separate Roman military forces. Zamora was in the latter region. Peace reigned until 155 BC. Two Roman defeats followed, many other rebellions were sparked in the peninsula; the Romans prevailed, in 27 BC, subdivided the province of Hispania Ulterior into Hispania Baetica and Lusitania, which included Zamora. When the Vandals invaded the province in the 5th century AD, the Roman Emperor Honorius sent his brother-in-law, the Visigoths' king, to defeat the Vandals; the Visigoths seized control of most of Hispania and made Toledo the capital, while the Suevi occupied the northwestern part of the Peninsula and made their capital city Bracara. By 585 the Suevi had been conquered by the Visigoths who controlled the whole peninsula. Zamora has buildings; these include a twelfth century Romanesque cathedral, many other churches, city walls, ancient houses and a castle. Pottery and wine are manufactured here.70 km further north lies Benavente.
It is famous for the Castle of La Mota. The parador was the home of Ferdinand II of León who died here while returning from a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela; the Parador de Turismo Fernando II occupies the Caracol Tower, a sixteenth-century castle, part of the former walled enclosure of the town. The ancient town of Toro lies beside the Duero 39 km to the east of Zamora. Ferdinand III of Castile was crowned King of León in the town in 1230 and his wife Elisabeth of Swabia died here. Notable features include the façade of the'Palacio de las Leyes' and the Santa María la Mayor collegiate church. Legend has it that the wines of Toro were the first to reach America, being taken there by Christopher Columbus; the town of Sanabria is in the northeast of the province near the Sanabria Lake, one of the few large natural lakes in Spain, on the border with Galicia. It has been declared a Artistic centre; the lake is now part of Sanabria Lake Natural Park, having been declared a Natural Park in 1978.
Fermoselle is a medieval village located on the border with Portugal and on the edge of the Arribes del Duero Natural Park. Arribes is the name for the gorges through which other rivers in this region flow; the steep slopes have long been terraced for the production of grapes and other fruit. Near the municipality of Villafáfila are lagoons that now form part of a nature reserve, they were formed by the historic mining of salt which started in the copper Bronze Age. Pottery items found here are similar to artefacts found in Mesopotamia, Bosnia and Poland; the lagoons are home to numerous species of birds, this is the second largest wetland reserve in Spain after Doñana National Park. List of municipalities in Zamora Kingdom of León Media related to Province of Zamora at Wikimedia Commons