León, in the origins of Spain

Destinations, Castilla y León

Head of the Kingdom of León and seed of what centuries later would be the Kingdom of Spain, León is considered to be the city that hosted the first Courts of Europe, the cradle of current parliamentarianism. With a royal chapel known as the Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art, it is an essential city to know the History of a whole country.

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Born as a Roman military camp of the Legio VI Victrix around 29 B.C., León was consolidated with the definitive settlement of the Legio VII Gemina from the year 74. After its partial depopulation due to the Muslim conquest of the peninsula, it received a new impulse as part of the Kingdom of Asturias.

In 910 A.D. he began his most outstanding historical period by becoming the head of the Kingdom of León, actively participating in the Reconquest against the Muslims and becoming one of the fundamental kingdoms in the configuration of the Kingdom of Spain. The city hosted the first Parliament in the history of Europe in 1188, under the reign of Alfonso IX, thanks to which in 2011 it was proclaimed by the Junta de Castilla y León as the Cradle of Parliamentarianism. Its union with the Crown of Castile was definitive in 1301 AD, making it one of the two strongest kingdoms on the peninsula during the Medieval and Modern Ages.

During the War of Independence, it was one of the first cities to rise up in all of Spain, and years after the end of the war, in 1833, it would acquire its status as the provincial capital. The arrival of the 20th century brought with it the Plan de Ensanche, which increased the urban expansion it had been experiencing since the end of the 19th century when the city became an important hub in the northwest due to the boom in coal mining and the arrival of the railroad.

Its historical and monumental heritage, among which the Holy Week stands out, and its situation as an obligatory passage of the Camino de Santiago, considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, make it a city full of life and culture. Among its most representative monuments are the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Regla, the best example of classical Gothic French style in Spain, the Basilica of San Isidoro, one of the most important Romanesque churches in Spain, the tomb of the kings of Leon and considered the Sistine Chapel of Romanesque Art, the Monastery of San Marcos, the first example of Plateresque and Renaissance architecture in Spain, the Palace of Los Guzmanes, the Palace of the Counts of Luna; the church of the Market or of the Way the Old one, the church of Palat del Rey or the House of the Butchers and the House Botines, of modernist style and realized by the brilliant Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, all of them declared Goods of Cultural Interest.

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