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Santander does not have an Old Town, but it does have a square that exudes history and and a very local identity.

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Porticada Square

Long live Pedro Velarde!

There is a reason as to why, unlike all other cities in Spain, Santander does not have an Old Town, where you would normally see buildings and monuments that span from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. There is no Old Town here, as a tragic fire swept across the city in 1941 and destroyed a large part of it. Historical accounts and news reports at the time recount that this catastrophic event was due to a fatal combination of strong southern wind, typical to this region, and the fact that most of the buildings were made of wood. After this tragedy, the city built Pedro Velarde Square (more commonly known as Porticada Square) in 1950. This square also commemorates the most famous Cantabrian liberator during the uprisings in 1808. Today, a large number of concerts and free cultural activities are organised here, particularly in the summer months.

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