Skip to main content

Skip to navigation menu

Alerta

Should we let you know?

If you want us to notify you when we publish a new audio guide, leave us your name and email address.
:-)
We will not use your information for commercial purposes or distribute it to third parties.
You can insert this audioguide on your website.
To do this, use the following HTML code:

Skip to navigation menu

Lerma

Burgos

Audioguide of Lerma

What to see in Lerma

Hardly a day goes by without hearing news about some smart ass politician who has used his position for his own benefit, right? Well, we could put together hundreds of them, and wouldn’t even fill the shoes of Francisco de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma, who at the beginning of the seventeenth century, after taking all the advantage he could have of King Felipe III, became incredibly rich by bribing, cheating, manipulating and speculating all sorts.

read more

Hardly a day goes by without hearing news about some smart ass politician who has used his position for his own benefit, right? Well, we could put together hundreds of them, and wouldn’t even fill the shoes of Francisco de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma, who at the beginning of the seventeenth century, after taking all the advantage he could have of King Felipe III, became incredibly rich by bribing, cheating, manipulating and speculating all sorts.

And why do we talk about him? Well, because he was also responsible for Lerma becoming the majestic Renaissance architectural ensemble that you can see today.

After persuading the monarch to move the court from Madrid to Valladolid, and in the process achieve a very successful and profitable urban development, the Lerma man came up with the idea of making his village an in place for the recreation of the Royal family and the courtesan nobility. He did not spare any expenses: he invested in the construction of six convents, a collegiate church, a palace and other buildings designed by the best architects of the time. The court could not be entertained in just any random place, and Lerma radically changed its face in less than two decades.

Sandoval was so full of himself then that he didn’t even hesitate on fooling the king himself: he was so cheeky that he asked him for permission to put two towers in his Ducal Palace, which was the usual thing, and it was granted by the sovereign. But the Duke had kept quiet and never told him that there was already another pair of towers in the building, so he added the two authorised new ones, and as a result, he got a nice gaff with four towers. And you should know that this was at that time a privilege reserved exclusively for royal palaces. This is how the man from Lerma got his own Royal Palace without being king.

He loved himself so much that from his new Ducal Palace, Francisco extended a network of underground walkways that connected the building with the Collegiate of San Pedro and the convents, this way he wouldn’t have to mix with the plebs when walking the town to attend events and celebrations.

This Palace overlooks the immense Plaza Mayor, which also has its history. It served as a market, a theatrical stage, and even as a bullfighting ring for a cruel party in which the bulls were led to an alley that ended on a precipice, after being fought on horseback.

In the end, the usual happened: the Duke of Lerma thought himself so untouchable … that himself alone became touchable. Investigations, irregularities, corruption, the executions of some colleagues, and in 1960, the ambitious Duke was invited to leave the court being at the mercy of his creditors. But as he was no fool, he had the great idea to ask Rome to name him a cardinal, and with it, he would get the pardon of everything pending. He succeeded, and with that, he retired from public life until his dead in 1625.

Today we have no choice but to recognise that, with more evil than good, that character managed to transform an old warrior village into the stately village that we still admire four hundred years later.


Lerma

Calle de la Audiencia, 6 (Oficina de Turismo)
09340 Lerma
(+34) 947 177 002

Google Map

Tags: Renaissance

Other audioguides of places you must see near Lerma