Castile and León
(Castilla y León), known formally as the Community of Castile and León
is one of the seventeen autonomous communities
. It was constructed from Old Castile
(Spanish: Castilla la Vieja
) and León
. This region is the largest in Spain
and one of the largest subdvisions in the European Union
. It covers an area of 94,223 km² with an official population of 2.5 million (2005).
Castile and León borders on Asturias and Cantabria to the north, Aragon, the Basque Country, and La Rioja to the east, the autonomous community of Madrid and Castile-La Mancha to the southeast, Extremadura to the south, and on Portugal and Galicia to the west.
Castile and León roughly overlaps with the Spanish part of the Douro River basin, on the northern half of the Meseta Central, a vast plateau in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula. It also extends to some adjoining valleys, such as El Bierzo (León) and many secluded mountain valleys: Laciana (León), Valle de Mena (Burgos), Valle del Tiétar (Ávila), etc.
The region is the land communication hub of northern Spain. It is crossed by the International E-road E80
. This is the main road connection between Portugal and the rest of Europe.
Castilla and León is also crossed by two major ancient routes:
- The Way of St. James (Spanish: Camino de Santiago), now a hiking trail and a motorway, from East to West.
- The Roman Silver Way (Spanish: Vía de la Plata), now a main road, through the West of the region.
The last years have seen a vast improvement in accessibility from the rest of Europe, mainly through the operations of low-cost airlines
at the airport of Villanubla
). There are three other airports in Castile and León: León
. The main airport of the neighbouring region of Madrid (Barajas
) are close as well, if not yet with a direct communication through public transportation.
Regional Administration and Government
Castile and León is divided into nine provinces
Each of these provinces is named after its respective provincial capital.
Although the Statute of Autonomy for Castile and Leon does not specify any city to be the capital of the autonomous community, the city of Valladolid serves that purpose in certain contexts, and is the city of residence for the Regional Executive, the Courts, and several other important arms of the regional parliament and government.
of Castile and León is known as the junta de Castilla y León
It has one head of the Regional Executive (Spanish: Presidente de la Junta) and twelve departments: Two Vicepresidencias and ten ministries (Spanish: Consejerías).
The Regional Courts of Castile and León
(Spanish: Cortes de Castilla y León
) is the elected legislature
of the Autonomous Community. The tradition of the Regional Courts is traced back to the Royal Council
(Latin: Curia Regis
) of León (1188
). The Curia Regis
was a king's summons of the estates of the realm. Although the practical outcome of the Curia Regis of 1188 is still disputed, its charter
seems to be an early movement towards the rule of constitutional law, much like the Magna Carta
. The home is in Valladolid
Parties with parliamentary representation in Castilla y León:
- Partido Popular de Castilla y León 48 Autonomical seats, 18 Congress seats.
- Partido Socialista de Castilla y León 33 Autonomical seats, 14 Congress seats.
- Unión del Pueblo Leonés, 2 autonomical seats.
Other regional bodies
of Castile and León (Spanish: Procurador del Común
) is appointed by the Regional Courts.
- Seat of the Ombudsman of Castile and León: León
The Consultive Committee of Castile and León
(Spanish: Consejo Consultivo
) is a group of five legal analysts. They are appointed by the Regional Courts and the Junta. The Committee delivers reports on legal issues both to the Regional Government and to incumbent municipal governments.
- Seat of the Consultive Committee: Zamora
Leonese and Galician are recognised in the Statute of Autonomy.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are six UNESCO World Heritage Sites
in Castile and León: