Santillana del Mar, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain

Known as the village of the three lies: if it is holy, nor flat, nor has a sea. But what is true is that Santillana del Mar must always appear in any list made with the most beautiful towns in Spain, since this Cantabrian town is really attractive and beautiful.

Santillana del Mar has managed to preserve its historical heritage in an extraordinary way, turning its appearance from the past into its greatest tourist value. However, once you arrive there, a population for the 21st century tourist is discovered, since in old mansions and palaces, travelers can stay with all the comforts of our time.

Santillana del Mar - Jose Angel Astor Rocha

Walking through Santillana del Mar

Sometimes to simplify, we talk about Santillana del Mar as a medieval town, although A walk through its streets shows examples of architecture of different styles, from Romanesque to Baroque, through Gothic or Renaissance forms. While it is true that the germ of the current Santillana can be found in its most unique monument: the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana.

The Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana

Before the current building there was a much simpler monastery than there are no remains. However, the oldest is the essentially Romanesque church, as well as the cloister attached to the temple, influenced by the architectural forms that arose around the Camino de Santiago.

Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana - Francisco Javier Gil

However, upon entering the Collegiate, a repertoire of sacred art from later times is discovered. And among all of it highlights its main altarpiece, made on horseback of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, merging the art of Gothic, Renaissance and Plateresque.

Santillana del Medieval Sea

The town was developed around this church. From there they leave their main streets until they reach the Plaza Mayor. It is on this route that the most valuable medieval civil constructions are found. For example, the military and Gothic towers of Merino and Don Borja. And other very interesting, such as the Torre de los Velarde, or the House of Leonor de la Vega, which bears the name of the mother of the first Marquis de Santillana.

The Renaissance and Baroque route through Santillana del Mar

Another of the most attractive places during the walk through Santillana is the Palacio de Velarde, in the Plaza de las Arenas, which is the most valuable Renaissance building in the complex, especially for its facade, built in the mid-16th century.

Typical architecture in Santillana del Mar - Jose Angel Astor Rocha

This is the last of the great civil constructions in the population, since during the baroque centuries, especially large convents are going to be built, like the convent of Regina Coeli for the order of the Dominicans, built on the outskirts of the town and that today is worth a visit, not only for its Herrera architecture, but also for housing the Diocesan Museum of Santander.

Indian architecture in Santillana del Mar

Many people from northern Spain emigrated to America in search of fortune. And some got it. And within that percentage, a few of them or their descendants returned to their homelands. That also happened with people of Santillana, and as in other places, those who returned with money, when they returned powerful mansions were built.

Santillana del Mar - Jose Angel Astor Rocha

This is the case of the house of the Bustamante, the Tagle, the Villa or the spectacular house of the Hombrones. All of them a fusion of art, baroque, arrogance and forms seen across the ocean. All this is also discovered in the building of the town hall and the houses of Valdivieso, the Sánchez-Table or the National Parador Gil Blas, which was originally the house of the Barreda Bracho.

«No one trusts in the compliments of prosperity, because it is a style of fortune to entertain and delight in taking away what he gave yesterday.»

-Fray Antonio de Guevara-

The Altamira Caves, just outside Santillana del Mar

Santillana is beautiful, but even if it was not, it would appear in the books of any language, thanks to its suburbs the caves of Altamira, true masterpiece of painting at the dawn of Humanity.

Drawing in the Cave of Altamira - siloto

Studies on these cave paintings found in 1879 by a neighbor of the town continue. But everything that is known can be discovered in the interactive museum built next to the caves.

This cultural equipment is one of the most visited in Cantabria, and all this despite not entering the caves with the original paintings, but the Neocueva, a replica built on a natural scale and with extraordinary care to be identical even in the last detail to the original cave. Without a doubt, the best place to discover the magic of art and start wondering, because man began to paint.

Video: Most beautiful medieval villages in Spain (November 2019).