We arrived in León early morning and can’t check into our hotel until after noon so we had some time to explore the city. León is a city on the Bernesga River in northwest Spain with a population of over 200,000. It’s home to many churches and cathedrals noted for their architecture and art.
Spectacular morning sunrise in Los Molinos before heading to León.
We crossed this river on our walk to the Hotel as we were dropped off about a fifteen minute walk from it.
First glimpse of the Leon Cathedral as we entered the old section of town.
Saturday morning flea market.
Another Saturday market in Plaza Mayor. Our hotel room is circled in green.
City Hall across from our hotel on Plaza Mayor.
León Cathedral is considered one of the top 10 cathedrals in Spain. It’s a French inspired, flamboyant Gothic Cathedral built between 1205 and 1301 over the remains of an ancient Roman thermal baths.
We were absolutely gobsmacked by the León Cathedral as you will be able to tell by all of the pictures.
What the cathedral is most famous for is its incredible medieval stained glass windows. 130 of them cover approximately 1,800 meters of surface, some of them still original to when the cathedral was built. Because of this it is nicknamed the “House of Light” or “Pulchra Leonina”.
The Cathedral has a new German made Organ installed in 2013.
The importance of the Camino de Santiago in the city’s history is depicted in window scenes of St James arriving by sea in Galicia and another of a group of pilgrims arriving in Compostela.
The stained glass in the León Cathedral stands out in our minds as the best that we have ever seen, and we have seen a lot. It is compared to Sainte Chapelle in Paris and the Cathedral of Chartres.
Magnificent Rose Window in the Central Nave.
There are a total of three Rose Windows on the west, north and south walls.
Beautiful ornate window carved doorways.
A side chapel of the Cathedral.
Our deluxe hotel room overlooked the bustling Plaza Mayor.
We were so excited to see we had a bath tub to soak our weary, achy bodies in.
Plaza Mayor Farmers market from our room.
Plaza Mayor again the day after the farmers market and not a trace of litter or garbage to be seen.
So many nice restaurants to chose from in the big cities with lovely outdoor seating. We found a very good Indian Restaurant for our second night here and it was such a pleasure to get a break from tapas.
Casa Botines is a Modernist building in Leon, Spain designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. It was originally built for a fabrics company but also later served as a bank. The building consists of four floors and an attic with the owners dwellings on the first floor, rental property on the upper floors and the ground floor contained the company offices. We first became a fan of Gaudi eight years ago when we went to Barcelona and visited his most famous work, La Sagrada Familia Church as well as Park Guell.
Antoni Gaudi was born in 1852. In 1870 he moved to Barcelona to pursue his academic career in architecture. He was an inconsistent student, but he was already showing signs of brilliance that opened doors for him allowing him to collaborate with his professors. When he completed his studies the director of the school declared; “I do not know if we have awarded this degree to a madman or a genius; only time will tell”. During his mature period, masterpieces followed one after another. He went from being a young dandy in his youth to socially distancing himself as he aged and neglecting personal appearance. He died unrecognizable in 1926 after being hit by a tram while on his nightly walk to the Sagrada Familia church. Hence his professors predictions proved true in both extremes.
While touring the museum we looked out the windows to see the Leon Half Marathon going by.
The spectacular cathedral aglow at night on our last rest day in Leon. Tomorrow our walking pilgrimage resumes.