About Ducal Palace, Lerma
Ducal Palace is a 17th century fortress in Lerma, Spain designed by Spanish Renaissance architect Francisco de Mora.
Ducal Palace, Lerma history
A small hilltop town, Lerma is a little off the tourist track, but has a variety of interesting sites to see, especially at its summit. Here stands the Ducal Palace (now a Parador hotel) which looks out over what was, in the 17th century, the largest Plaza Mayor in the country.
The Palace, built at the beginning of the 17th century in the Herrerian style, has symmetrical forms. Its façade shows the coats of arms of the house of Sandoval y Rojas. The door is flanked by columns and above it there are windows and balconies of monotonous symmetry. Inside there are sober Renaissance patios. Nearby is the Convent of San Blas of Dominican nuns, a building that maintains the architectural unity of the complex of which it is an extension.
Duke Francisco Gomez de Sandoval, who was responsible for building both the Ducal Palace and the Plaza Mayor, was a major power in Spain during the reign of Phillip III, one of the Hapsburg kings of Spain.
The Duke was also responsible for building the six convents and monasteries which can be found close by. It was rumoured that the Duke, who was obsessed with the religious orders, had tunnels dug to them from the Ducal Palace.
Ducal Palace, Lerma today
The Ducal Palace is now a high-end hotel.
As you approach Lerma, the four imposing black spires at the corners of the building are visible from a great distance. The palace had magnificent gardens and was reputed to have had seven chapels, though only one remains.
There are several other historic buildings in the town including the tourist office, in a building where Rubens is said to have stayed. Rubens portrait of the Duke of Lerma once featured on the Spanish 10 Pesata postage stamp
Getting to the Ducal Palace, Lerma
The Plaza Mayor is now mainly used as a car park. To avoid a long, uphill walk to see the Palace and other buildings, visitors may wish to park there.