Unlike France and England, Spain has not been dominated by its capital, and the focus of its history shifts from city to city over the centuries, illuminating different features of the country's past. Toledo, Cordoba, Seville and Madrid have at various times managed to establish a political and cultural supremacy, Cadiz and Barcelona dominated the economy in the 18th and 19th centuries. Salanca housed one of the great universities of medieval Europe while Santiago became the second religious centre of Christendom. In CITIES OF SPAIN David Gilmour takes us on a journey from Visigothic kingdom and the Cordoban caliphate to the Madrid of today. The portrait of these cities both now and in the heyday reveal both their spirit and their significance, and allowed the reader an intimate view of one of Europe's most fascinating and intriguing countries.