La Alberca: A National Historic Landmark
The activity for the day in Salamanca wasn’t over yet after lunch in Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel and Spa. There was just so much more to see in Salamanca!
After lunch, we went to La Alberca, Salamanca. La Alberca is a municipality that consists mainly of rural villages, and is the first of its kind in Spain to be given the title of a “National Historic Heritage”, way back in 1940.
Beautiful Old Houses in Plaza Mayor of La Alberca
It is 70 kilometers from the heart of Salamanca, and only has a population of less than 1126 (as of 2014). Despite this, however, La Alberca is a tourist hotspot. The climate is moderately fine, as the area is surrounded by four mountain ranges in all directions.
When we got to the village, there was hardly anyone else around, aside from the local residents and some shop owners looking after their stalls. It was so quiet, so I assumed that we were the first batch of tourists to arrive.
Traditional Houses in La Alberca
The architecture of the houses in the village were different from those of the buildings in City of Salamanca. The buildings in the heart of the city were mostly made of concrete, stone, and other heavy materials, whereas those in the village were made of chestnut wood and granite stone, giving off an entirely newly-looking façade. It’s hard to believe that we’re still in one province.
The village, we learned, was one of the most important villages in Salamanca. I supposed that’s a given, however, since it was declared a National Heritage Site way back then. Our tour guide told us that the traditions and customs dating way back during the 15th century was and still being preserved in this area.
Clean River in La Alberca
What’s interesting about La Alberca is that, despite the fact that it’s just a simple, rural village somewhere in Castilla y Leon, Spain, it’s very much like an urbanized community on its own. It has its own town center (or should I say, village center), its own church, and even a Plaza Major. We were able to see them all.
Plaza Major La Alberca
The town square literally looked like a square, with its four columned porches. We were told that it serves as the village’s center of social life, such as gatherings. I can imagine the people gathering there for Christmas Eve or New Year. It’s such a small village, so I think it’s possible that the people are closely-knit as well.
Parish Church of Our Lady of the Assumption
Image of Our Lady of the Assumption
The village’s church, The Parish Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, was also one of the highlights for our trip. It appeared very old, yet well-preserved. Our tour guide told us that the church was constructed during the 18th century. Once again, we were able to see how Spanish people in general give much importance to the propagation of Catholicism.
Iberian pig outside the church
The Plaza Major, although not as urbanized like the one in Salamanca City, also boasted its beauty to us. There was a restaurant with ancient architecture and paintings, and specializes in its Jamon (ham) dishes. The exterior was cozy, and it even had a fireplace to compliment the dark interior. I would want to go back and eat there someday. Our group decided to get a table in one of the alfresco bars in the Plaza Major just to have some beer and to feel the local ambiance.
La Alberca Ref Magnets
Outdoor Candy Shops
Shops selling Iberico Ham
The tour did not take too long, and we only walked around the village’s narrow streets. The wind was very fresh, but in certain areas, if you stay long enough, you’ll smell the scent of those tasty Iberico Hams! Most stalls in the village sell that kind of ham.
Tapas Bar in La Alberca
La Alberca Souvenir Shops
Aside from Iberico Ham, other food that is specially-produced food in this area include Chorizo, Salami, and specific kinds of Tapa. If you’re in a holiday in Salamanca, Visit La Alberca and don’t get yourself a bar of chocolate as a souvenir or pasalubong (like most of us would often do). To maximize your experience in La Alberca, you should try their tapas and hams and take lots of pictures!