If you want to make the most of your study abroad experience while you are in Spain, there is no better opportunity than to follow the Route of the Castilian Language (“Camino de la Lengua Castellana”) based around the history of Spanish language. This route is an itinerary through all the towns where Spanish has its origins, development and expansion. Monuments, writers, squares, cloisters, palaces, libraries, landscapes, tradition and gastronomy intermingle in an open invitation to discover the beauty of San Millán de la Cogolla, Santo Domingo de Silos, Valladolid, Salamanca, Ávila and Alcalá de Henares.
Some of the most important characteristics of these places are:
- San Millán de la Cogolla(birthplace of the written word)for its importance as the roots of Castilian Spanish and home to the Suso and Yuso Monasteries.
- Santo Domingo de Silos (birthplace of the sung word), for the important documents which were written there, such as the Glosas Silenses and where visitors can listen to the liturgical Gregorian Chant during some religious ceremonies.
- Valladolid (birthplace of the literature word) which would have great importance when Spanish reached America (the New World).
- Salamanca (birthplace of the wise word) for the importance of its university, the oldest in Spain, and because it is where the first Spanish Grammar was written
- Ávila (birthplace of the mystic word), the city was important for the presence there of Saint Teresa de Jesús and Saint Juan de la Cruz, two key writers in mystic literature.
- Alcalá de Henares (birthplace of the universal word), for its historic university and for being the cradle of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote de La Mancha and because it is where the King and Queen of Spain present the most important literary prize in Spain each year, the “Premio Cervantes”.
San Millán de la Cogolla, Salamanca, Ávila and Alcalá de Henares have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and in 2002 the Route of the Castilian Language was declared “European Cultural Route” and “Great Cultural Route” two years later by the European Council.
Visit www.spain.info and www.studyinspain.info for more information. To learn more about the language of Spain, check out our travel guide covering the best places to learn the language.
Image: Plaza de Anaya in Salamanca