Castles in Spain
– the origin of the Parador hotels
One of the great benefits of living in Spain’s beautiful capital Madrid is the closeness to one of the countries best preserved cultural heritages – the legendary Paradores. Last weekend my family and I visited the Parador the Oropesa located just outside Spain’s former capital Toledo. The visit encouraged me to investigate the concept of the Paradores further, and I came to discover a history I contentedly like to share.
It all started in 1910 when the government of Spain, led by José Canalejas, in time of the monarch Alfonso XIII, initiated a project of creating a hotel structure with the intention to preserve and present the Spanish cultural and historical heritage. Moreover, the project aimed to create jobs and a better socioeconomic situation for the poorer regions in the country and also to encourage increased contact and collaboration between them.
Many of the Paradores mutually have a history of being a result of the Moors architectural and building art that later was concurred by the Spaniards. However, the 93 Spanish Paradores all have their unique history that are all well worth studying. For example, the Parador Oropesa is installed in the magnificent castle of Oropesa, whose main architectural structure is dating back to the mid fifteenth century. The Parador of Oropesa was once the stately home of the powerful family Alvares de Toledo, count of Oropesa, but has also been a refuge area for soldiers, religious and nobles. Each Parador most certainly has its own uniqueness. Some of them are holding art and other cultural museums; some are more gastronomically oriented while others have a golf-focus. Indisputably, all of them are fantastic place attractors for their specific region.
The Paradores has become a very important part of the Spanish tourist industry, and they are examples of truly good place attractors. The grandson of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, expressed the importance of them for the specific regions and for Spain as follows.
“My very first time in Spain, me and my family stayed at one of the beautiful Paradores. Staying there became something very special for me. In recent years I have seen that these establishments are having a very strong impact on the places and regions where they are located. The work to renovate and preserve these old buildings is a story of success, and the Paradores has become a important part of the country Spain and its tourist image”
If you ever get the chance – visit one of the Paradors it definitely gives a taste of more, in more than just one sense!