Plaza Mayor is a central plaza in the city of Valladolid. Its existence became defined in the mid-thirteenth century when the market moved from the Plaza de Santa Maria to Market Square, which since the early sixteenth century has been called Plaza Mayor. Individual unions were installed around it, as was the Convent of San Francisco, until 1499 the most important building in the vicinity. After that date, as mandated by the Catholic Monarchs it was the House of the Municipality who presided over the life of the city.
After its destruction in 1561 because of a serious fire at the old Market Square and thanks to the direct intervention of Philip II, it became urbanized as a meeting place and marketplace of traders who came from all parts of the Kingdom.
The reconstruction project was the work of Francisco de Salamanca, royal architect. He gave birth to the modern town square in urban planning — a milestone for Spain and the Americasthat it is a great contribution of the Spanish Baroque architecture.
The Plaza Mayor of Valladolid is the first great plaza in Spain, and closed with arcades, is a space intended for use as a market and as a backdrop to the public celebrations so dear to the Habsburg monarchy. It had been designed with large balconies to facilitate the viewing of the shows, and served as a model, since the seventeenth century, for many others in Spain and South America, even having an impact in Italy.
Traditionally the houses of the square had a height of three storeys. The distribution of voids was hierarchical. The first floor had balconies, the second railings, and the third, simple windows. This original appearance was changed over time until all floors had balconies. The Plaza Mayor is presided over by a statue of the founder of the city, Pedro Ansúrez constructed in 1903 by Aurelio Carretero.
On the northern flank of its rectangular layout, stands the Casa Consistorial, seat of the Town Hall of Valladolid. The previous building, dating from the sixteenth century survived until 1879, but had been reformed over time. For example, in the mid-nineteenth century, a tower for a clock was built in the center of the facade. The existing building had a long beginning. First there was a design contest for the new Consistory, a project won by the local architect Antonio Iturralde, who presented a draft that, while the winner, not well liked. Iturralde died in 1897 and Enrique Repullés and Vargas took over the work. The Iturralde draft was discarded and a new building of Beaux-Arts architecture was constructed and completed in 1908.
Facing this building is Zorrilla Theater, opened in 1884. It is situated on the original site of the Convent of San Francisco, the immense monastery, totally demolished between 1835 and 1850.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.