“tu placeat Deo et hominibus”
The above was the motto under which Plasencia was founded in 1186, by Alfonso VIII, King of Castilla. It was a city with a diverse population, that lived together, most of the time in mutual respect for one another.
Stairs of the San Nicolas Church in Palencia
This is a unique place where “convivencia” really occurred during the spanish Middle Ages. In front of the San Nicolas Church door and on its front steps, the citizens of Plasencia held mediation trials. This was the right place, when there was both jewish and christian plaintiffs. During those days the synagogue and the jewish brotherhood were right across the plaza. To honor justice, one jewish judge and one christian judge held mediation for the two sides.
For me Plasencia was out of the lists of places ” I must visit”, until I started an Internet class through Coursera. Thank you, professor Martinez Davila, for recommending this visit to Plasencia. It is every thing you said and a hundred times more. Even thou I was there for only five short hours I was able to get a taste of its wonders. I am planning to visit again soon, this time for a longer period. There is just too much to see and learn.
The best way to get to Plasencia from Madrid is with a train. Renfe has a good direct service from the “Atocha” station four times a day. The trip takes about three hours.
At Plasencia the train station is kind of non-descript, low key, but don’t let that fool you in respect to the beauties you are about to see. It is conveniently located, about a 15- minute walk or a short ride to the historical center. I took a city bus for 1.05 €. The bus stop is just a block form the station. You can take the L.2 bus, which will let you off right at the steps, that will take you up to the Cathedrals. While approaching the old city, the magnificent site of the Cathedrals surprised me from the level of the river. But a much bigger surprise is when you enter the Cathedrals. It is one of those magical buildings, built during many centuries, and the whole thing just falls together harmoniously.
And then Plasencia … It is a gem. The old streets and the old buildings are there to be visited and discovered. Yes, a combination of different cultures, that some how were able to get along during centuries. It seems that the current city leaders are working hard to have their historical past in proper conditions. I am particularly grateful for the friendly and helpful placentinos, who are always ready to give you the right information or point you in the right direction.
Hope to write more about Plasencia as I am able to learn more about this unique place.
Life in Europe makes history so meaningful because you are surrounded by centuries of historical testimony. I hope to travel into the past and uncover facts that are relevant to our lives in this present.