Spanish literary places
Literature is an excellent way to get to know Spanish towns and cities, and their history and customs. Before making a trip to any historical Spanish city, it is wise to read some books written by universal authors, who have portrayed these places accurately.
The most universal Spanish author is Miguel de Cervantes and his most renowned work is ‘Don Quixote de La Mancha’. Besides being filled with its famous wind mills, the region of La Mancha is sprinkled with places that refer to the eventful journeys of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, like El Toboso or Puerto Lapice.
Toledo is a city with strong literary echoes. An imperial capital and a multicultural meeting place during the Middle Ages, Toledo was a first order cultural centre, where a prestigious Translators School arose, that gathered all the knowledge of the era in Castilian, Arab, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. In addition, many literary works, like, for example, several romantic legends written by Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, take place there.
Salamanca is a city that oozes literature from its golden stones. Spanish Picaresque Literature was born in this Castilian city with ‘El Lazarillo de Tormes’. Another later picaresque work, Quevedo´s "El buscon", also takes its main protagonist to Salamanca. Neither should the works of writer Miguel de Unamuno be forgotten, a figure extraordinarily related to the University of Salamanca, and who located several of his works in this city.
In the XIXth century, American writer Washington Irving visited Alhambra Palace, when it was an abandoned place. He collected all the local legends and stories while he was living there. To have read these texts before visiting Granada, offers the visitor an ampler and more evocative vision of what the last Arab kingdom in Europe was like.
The Asturian city of Oviedo is intimately bound to an important Spanish literary work from the XIXth century: "La Regenta" of Leopoldo Alas Clarin. The most representative places of this beautiful northern city appear in detail in this masterpiece of Spanish literary naturalism.
Éstos sólo son algunos de los ejemplos que el viajero puede tomar para descubrir España desde otra perspectiva, viviendo en los lugares que dieron vida al arte de sus escritores.