To begin this travel guide to León, you should visit Santo Domingo Square. This is the point where the most important art of the old sector meets the modernism of the metropolis. Here, you will find the Museum of León and the Pillarés building, which features an interesting collection of prehistoric and roman object. It also features silversmithing and utensils from the Middle Age and ceramics. This museum also offers paintings and sculptures from various time periods.
Adjacent to Santo Domingo, you will find the San Marcelo Church. Located in the square with the same name. Founded at the time of the Reconquest, it was destroyed by Almanzor and rebuilt in 1096. This coincides with the foundation of the hospital it now houses. In 1493, after bringing Saint Marcelo’s body from Tangier, a new temple was built. This one would be redone one more time in the 16th century. The final building, with a dome above the cross, houses an excellent painting of Christ by Gregorio Fernández. The heirloom of the saint can be found in silver chest located under the main altar.
Let´s continue with this travel guide.
South of the plaza, you will find the Poridad Palace, a renaissance building that was granted by the government. The Casa de los Botines, an Antonio Gaudí piece, is located right in front of it and is considered to be a Historical Monument. It is a magnificent modernist building with a medieval aspect with a trapezoidal base and four towers. The lower levels of the building were the location of all of the business matters, while the higher ones were used as houses. In this same square you will find the Guzmanes Palace. This is the current location of the Provincial Deputies. It is a renaissance building designed by Gil de Hontañón.
Next on our travel guide, you can take Ancha Street to get directly to the Cathedral. Another option is to walk down Regidores street to the Conde Luna Square. Here you will find an indoor market and the Conde Luna Palace. It is a gothic palace-fortress constructed in the 14th century by one of the most influential families in the kingdom. The mansion, made of stone, has a gothic front door with Arab influences.
Nearby, and another place to not miss on our travel guide is the Salvador de Palat del Rey Church. Built in the 5th century, making it the oldest in the city. The only thing conserved from the original building is the transept with an arch and fluted vault. In its time, it was a chapel of the monarchy and was the Royal Pantheon before the San Isodoro Basilica: inside Ramiro II and his sons are buried.
Casa de los Botines
Parallel to the Los Cubos Street, you will find the remains of the wall constructed by Legio VII. Part of which is still visible from the San Isodoro zone. IT has increased along with the 3rd and 4th centuries.
From here, you should go to the San Isodoro Basilica passing by houses constructed between the 9th and 13th century. On Serranos Street you will find the Santa Marina la Real Church. It is a renaissance building from 1571 that houses the Rosario Virgin, a group of sculptures by Juan de Juni.
The Basílica de San Isidoro will appear at the back of the square with the same name, surrounded by the Puerta de la Reina. This serves as an entrance to the audience, and also shows the best conserved roman wall. It was restored in the 11th century. The temple is one of the main manifestations of the Occidental art. It was created between 1056-1057 with the idea of housing the remains of the San Isidoro of Seville.
It was reconstructed between 1072 and 1101, although the original plan was respected and in the 16th century, the original bell was redone. The Basilica stays open all day and night for a very special privilege. In its exterior, the Portadas de Perdón and the Cordero Místico stand out. The walls and domes are completely decorated with roman decor from the 12th century. These are about scenes from the New Testament and an interesting agriculture calendar.
Taking Renueva and Suero de Quiñones streets, you will arrive at Reyes Leoneses street. Here you will find the Auditorio and the Contemporary Art Museum, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC).
Once you have finished your visit to the center of the city in this travel guide, you should head over to El Húmedo neighborhood. It is right around the Main Square and the San Martin Square. It is an old area of the city that is full of typical bars and tapas restaurants. We definitely recommend visiting during Holy Week, as it coincides with the famous Entierro de Genarín.
With this, we conclude our travel guide to León.