From the Main Square, with Palacio Ducal at your back, take the street on the right at the bottom of the square. There, at the middle, on the left, you will find the Town Hall and tourist office, where they give you a map of the city and tell you the main highlights.
Opposite to the main face of the Palace spreads a rectangular square, limited at the three other sides with houses on arches. There are about 70 columns and balconies.
With 6.862 square meters it is one of the biggest squares of Spain, being the Duke's pride in his time.
The all-powerful Duke of Lerma, plenipotentiary minister of the monarch Felipe III, turned the town into a recreational court. It was a very select meeting place for illustrious personages and a handful of the best-known artists of the time.
The plaza was the ideal frame for the private feasts, comedies (Lope de Vega presented here theatrical works). There were also corridas by noblemen on horses ("rejones"). And it was and still is the market place.
It is impossible to write about the town and palace of Lerma without mentioning Don Francisco Gomez de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma (1552-1625). He was the favourite of Philip III king of Spain and the first of his ministers called "Validos" in that time. The Duke of Lerma amassed power in an unprecedented way what allowed him to have this palace build by the famous architect Francisco de Mora on the highest part (850 m) of the town overhanging the river Arlanza.
The Duke of Lerma was a very bad administrator and under his influence the Spanish state went practically bankrupt. In the end, he was put aside by a palace intrigue carried out by his own son but he managed to be appointed as cardinal.
Under the reign of Philip IV the duke-cardinal of Lerma was despoiled of part of his wealth.
In later centuries the Ducal Palace underwent less gloriuous times. It was occupied by the army of Napoleon, set on fire when they left (1814), and was used later as a prison during the Spanish civil war.
Restauration and transformation in a Parador was a considerable work achieved begin 2004.
An interesting Collegiate church located in front of the Ducal Palace, there´s a corridor that communicates both buidings used by the Duke when he attended Mass. Inside the church there´s a beautiful bronze statue of the Duke and a impressive Baroque altar.
The most interesting construction of the city. This beautiful Palace was constucuted over the ruins of and old XV castle, and was designed by the Architect Francisco de Mora in the traditional Castilian style with four towers. . The building is situated at the Plaza Mayor, a huge plaza surrounded by arcades. Actually the building is a National Parador.
The ex-collegiate church of San Pedro Apostol has a remarkable organ of the 17th c. which for her characteristics is one of the few organs in Spain in a sufficient good state to allow her use. This organ from 1615 was made by Diego de Quijano who worked for King Felipe III.
In August, on the Saturday afternoons, Baroque music concerts are organised in this church.
On the right of the Ducal Palace is an attached square on which stands the Convent of San Blas also commissioned by the Duke of Lerma with the same architect. It was and still is a convent for Dominican nuns. For several centuries the convent was joined to the Palace by an alley with arches.
Above the entrance are two blazons of the duke.
From the windows with trellis, the nuns could see the numerous feasts on the Plaza Mayor.
Presently these feasts from the 17th c. have been recreated by the authorities of Lerma at mid August under the name of "Fiesta Barroca".
From the tourist office you can join the daily excursions (except Mondays and tuesdays), where they go through the city and explain you about all the hisotrical and monumental importance of the city.
I am afraid guides are in spanish :-(
A wonderful gotic church with interiors in abrroc.
The main entrance deserves a closer look.
When you enter to Lerma, this is the first thing you can see on the top of the city, si really spectacular...
In the square of Santa Ana is the sepulcre of the Cura Merino (el guerrillero).
If you go to the end of the aquare you can enjoy the views of the river Arlanza and the "vegas"
This square is in the middle of the Mnasteries of Santa Teresa (where tousit office is sited now) and Santa Clara monastery.
At the top of the villa, it is sited the Ducal Palace, using the settings of the old medieval castle
Was constructed by Francisco de Mora between the 1601 and 1617.
the aquare was the perfect palce to do theaters and other festivals on that age.
You can start the visit by the Main Square. Here you can leave the car and start walking around. In the square you will find the "Palacio Ducal", an old palace being refurbished to house a Parador Hotel.
This plaza is located between the Monastery de la Ascension and the Collegiate church of San Pedro, a beautiful square with a viewpoint with arches, great views of the river Arlanza and the Valley.
This building was the first convent in the city. Founded by Mariana de Padilla (daughter in law of the Duke), it´s located in the Santa Clara´s square.
The Infant Margarita Francisca, daughter of Felipe III, was baptized here in 1610 what shows the importance of Lerma in that period.
The Clarisse nuns of this convent make delicious sweets.