Bathed by the Tormes River, it is situated to the northwest of Salamanca, on a granite plateau and surrounded by a varied landscape where there is room for cereal fields, the banks of the Tormes and the typical pastures of the Charro countryside of Salamanca. The archaeological remains found speak of a prehistoric settlement, possibly Veton, from the seventh century BC. With the Romans the Celtic Bletisama derived in Bletissa and it was inside Lusitania. From the Visigothic period there is no trace in Ledesma which did become an important nucleus in the Muslim period. In the year 939, Ramiro II of Leon reconquered it from the Muslims and began a repopulation of the place but this was not effective until the 11th century with Alfonso VI, as Almanzor attacked and looted it on several occasions.
Fernando II of León, in 161, surrounded the city of walls, converted it into a royal lordship of Villa y Tierra and granted it its own jurisdiction. Ledesma ceased to belong to the Crown when in 1462 Enrique IV ceded it to Beltrán de la Cueva with the title of Count of Ledesma for him and his descendants, who maintained it over the centuries until the dissolution of the feudal regime in the 19th century. It was invaded by the French in 1808, extending their occupation until 1812. With the provincial division of the nineteenth century, Ledesma is framed within the province of Salamanca. And at present it is a beautiful town that with the sight and the illusions put in a promising future, lives and maintains an impressive historical, cultural, architectonic legacy, without forgetting its valuable and admired landscape.
A peaceful tour around the village of Ledesma will lead visitors to discover magical corners in any of its narrow streets filled with buildings full of history that await the attentive and curious ears of the people who approach them to share it with them. With the impressive aspect of a centennial town that the walled enclosure and the constructions that surround it give it, and that have earned it the title of Historic-Artistic Site in 1975, what better than to begin the visit of Ledesma by the Fortress whose construction began in the last third of the 12th century by mandate of Fernando II of Leon. Surrounding it is the so-called Square of the Fortress, a large landscaped esplanade which houses a headless boar that dates from between the seventh and first centuries BC and has become one of the symbols of Ledesma, the underground of this square jealously guards a series of underground, vaulted chambers, ducts, arsenals ... which would constitute the cellars and water pipes of the palace that began to build in the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth.
Gate of San Pedro, one of the oldest of the eight gates that the wall of Ledesma had, from it you can see the remains of one of its towers. Next to the gate was the church of San Pedro, with whose remains the church of San Pedro and San Fernando was built on the other side of the river. The San Nicolás Gate is the only gate in the wall that has been preserved, it was built in the last third of the 12th century. The Main Square surprises us with the church of Santa María la Mayor, which was built as a Romanesque church in the 13th century and reformed between the 15th and 16th centuries. With an almost fortified appearance, the Town Hall building was begun in the 15th century to house the House of the Corregidor, the Audience Hall and the Royal Prison.
The palace of Beltrán de la Cueva was a large house where the Counts of Ledesma enjoyed bullfights, sacramental and any celebration held in the Main Square. Between this palace and the Roderos Palace, the Roderos Arch connects the Main Square with the Alhóndiga, dated around 1580. In addition to being a cereal store, it was also born as a relief for the needy, hence it was known as ""cloth of tears for the poor".. Mansions and palaces that display the noble coats of arms of the lineages and characters that inhabited them such as the Almenas, the palace of the Rodríguez de Ledesma-los Diece, the Marqués de la Gracia Real de Ledesma or the Chave are interspersed with churches such as Santa Elena, which is the only one that has been preserved pure since the time of the repopulation at the end of the 12th century, San Miguel's, which currently houses the Historical Interpretation Centre of Ledesma "Bletisa", and hermitages such as the Virgen del Carmen, which we will reach by crossing the Old Bridge. Until the 19th century it was the highest bridge crossing the Tormes, the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción built in 1841 in the old site of the Church of San Polo. After strolling through the history of Ledesma and tasting its traditional cuisine, in which the queen is the Ledesmina donut, what better than to enter its rich natural heritage that the pastures and the Tormes with its incipient arribes offer us through viewpoints and varied hiking routes.
Ledesma celebrates Corpus Christi in June, these are its main celebrations; on the Sunday after July 16th the feast is for its patron saint, Nuestra Señora del Carmen.
According to tradition, Ledesma celebrates the Candelas, a Christmas party in which the people gather to ring the bells at 2 a.m. in the Main Square on December 23rd and 24th. The six bells of the Great Cathedral, the church of Santa María la Mayor, are ringing. This tradition goes back to other times when the peasants were warned that they were out of town, working the fields, so that they could return to their homes to celebrate Christmas; upon their arrival they were offered brandy and mantecadas. Liquors and mantecadas that today continue to be tasted after the ringing of the bells.
In Ledesma, Lunes Aguas is the day to celebrate the end of the Lenten fast and the return of the prostitutes to the village, which according to tradition had been set aside for fifty days to avoid the temptation of the Christians. A country afternoon, snacks and folklore in which the Ledesminos, accompanied by friends and family, fill the beautiful area of the Bridge Mocho with their joy.
Ledesma, according to legend, was originally named Ferica after its legendary founder Ferico, conqueror and companion of Hercules in his travels.
The town of Ledesma is reached by several roads that connect it with the neighbouring towns as well as with Trabanca, Vitigudino, Bermillo de Sayago or La Fuente de San Esteban and with the capital, Salamanca.
Ledesma has a bus service that connects it with Salamanca and the other towns along the route from Monday to Saturday.
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