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201km (125 miles) NW of Madrid, 134km (83 miles) SE of León

From the 13th century until its eventual decay in the early 17th century, Valladolid was a royal city and an intellectual center attracting saints and philosophers. Isabella and Ferdinand were married here, Philip II was born here, and Columbus died here, on May 19, 1506, broken in spirit and body after Isabella had died and Ferdinand refused to reinstate him as a governor of the Indies.

Valladolid is bitterly cold in winter, sweltering in summer. Today, after centuries of decline, the city is reviving economically and producing, among other things, flour, ironware, and cars. Consequently, it's polluted and noisy, and older buildings have been replaced by more modern, utilitarian ones, although many attractions remain.

From the tourist office, you can pick up a map that marks all the major monuments. These attractions can be covered on foot, although you may want to take a taxi to the two most distant points recommended: the Museo Nacional de Escultura and the Museo Oriental.