The Via de la Plata, or the Silver route, is the longest Camino de Santiago in Spain. Historically, well before the time of the Romans, this path was utilized to move animals between the north and south. Later, the route was a main passage for traders who came into southern ports of the Iberian Peninsula, trading ceramics and jewelry.
The Silver route starts in Seville and heads north, joining the Camino Frances after the town of Astorga. Today, only approximately 3.5% of all pilgrims take this route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
When on the Via de la Plata, you will come across the stunning spectacle of the Castillo de Mota del Marqués. It is an ancient castle located on a mountain above the small town of Mota del Marques, located in the province of Valladolid, Castile and León with a population of approximately 425 inhabitants.
The castle was built in the 13th century, during the reign of Alfonso X who belonged to the Teutonic Order. In 1520 the Order was attacked by the Rebellion of the Communards and later, in 1810 during the War of Spanish Independence from France. Following these attacks, the castle found itself in ruins. In 2010, the local government undertook work to avoid a complete collapse of the castle.
At the foot of the slope of the mountain peak sits the lglesia de El Salvador or Church of El Salvador. It was built in the sixteenth century and is believed to be the first religious temple in the local area. Stones were removed from this church to make a garden in the Church of San Martín which is a more recent church built in the town of Mota del Marques. Although not verified, it is thought that one of the gates of the Church of El Salvador is now in New York City.
Although the castle and church remain in ruins, we think it is a beautiful site. If you find yourself walking the Via de la Plata, take a short walk up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the solidarity and captivating spirit you will likely discover amidst the remaining vestiges of the Castillo de Mota del Marqués.