Two things distinguish
: its eleventh-century
, two perfectly preserved kilometres of which surround the old town, and the mystic writer
, who was born here and whose shrines are a major focus of religious pilgrimage. Set on a high plain, with the peaks of the Sierra de Gredos behind, the town is quite a sight, especially if you time it right and approach with the evening sun highlighting the golden tone of the walls and the details of the 88 towers.
The walls were ordered by Alfonso VI, after his capture of the city from the Moors in 1090; they took his Muslim prisoners nine years to construct. At closer quarters, they prove a bit of a facade, as the old city within is sparsely populated and a little dishevelled, most of modern life having moved into the new developments outside the fortifications. However, the fine
dotted in and about the old city, plus good walks around the walls, make the town an excellent night's stopover, either combined with El Escorial, or en route to Salamanca.
Other useful information
for tourists (each section contains more specific sub-sections):