The Walls of Leon

Léon was founded by the Roman legion Legio VI Victrix in 1C but the walls around the ‘historic centre’ of Léon date from both Roman and Mediaeval times. It was fun to walk around the city, looking for the walls, and I did this more than once!

The oldest section that remains was built by Legio VII Gemina at the end of 1C and is visible at the Arco de la Cárcel. In 3C another wall was built in front of the first wall and can be seen everywhere. The Roman walls are c.17′ thick and c.26′ high, and are punctuated with semi-circular towers.

The walls around the historic centre of Leon

The walls around the historic centre of Leon

I walked round the walls starting from what used to be the East Gate, next to the Cathedral, in an anti-clockwise direction round to the former West Gate at the bottom of the Calle Ancha. This section seemed to me to follow most closely the walls of the Roman settlement. A small display in a ‘crypt’ next to the Cathedral shows the shape and foundation of the the original East Gate. We also visited The Roman Museum, next to the Puerto Castillo, which has a lot of interesting information, including fascinating photographs of Léon at the beginning of the 1900s.

The remains of the Mediaeval Gate (on the site of the Roman Gate) in 1910 (photograph in The Roman Museum, Leon)

The site of the former East Gate today

The Roman walls on the Av los Cubos

The Roman walls and the semi-circular towers on the Av los Cubos

Photograph of the same street at the end of the 19C (in the Roman Museum, Leon)

Photograph of the same street at the end of the 19C (in the Roman Museum, Leon)

The walls along the Calle Carreras

The walls along the Calle Carreras

The Arco de la Carcel at the end of the Calle Carreras

The Arco de la Carcel (Puerto Castillo) at the end of the Calle Carreras, reconstructed in mid 18C

On top of the wall in the Roman museum, next to the Puerto Castillo

The wall in the Park del Cid

The wall in the Park del Cid

The top of the wall in the Park del Cid, looking towards the Tower of San Isidoro

The break in the wall at the end of Park del Cid

The position of the Roman West Gate at the bottom of the Calle Ancha

The position of the Roman West Gate at the bottom of the Calle Ancha

Then I walked round the walls in the other direction, clockwise, from the East Gate round to the West Gate! These walls include Mediaeval walls which is why the outline I have given above is not rectangular in the bottom half. There were apparently nine gates in these walls but it is not clear to me exactly where they were on the map. I have tried to identify the locations from street names.

Tower of Ponce, and site of the East Gate into the town, next to the Cathedral

Looking down the Calle Serradores

Looking down the Calle Serradores

In the Calle Cano de Bodilla

In the Calle Cano de Bodilla, where there used to be a gate into the town; just below the Plaza Mayor

Notice board at the Puerto Moneda, showing the Roman Walls, and the later Mediaeval Walls

Notice board at the Puerto Moneda, showing the Roman Walls, and the later Mediaeval Walls

The Mediaeval Walls were built in the 14C and arc outside the Roman Walls on the south and west of the town. There is a lower wall (a bulwark), a walkway, and then the actual, higher wall.

The start of the Calle de las Cercas

The start of the Calle las Cercas – the Mediaeval ‘Fence’

The Calle de las Cercas

The Calle las Cercas

Looking back along the Calle de los Cercas from the Puerto Moneda

Looking back along the Calle las Cercas from the Puerto Moneda

The Puerto Moneda

The Puerto Moneda

The continuation of Calle las Cercas after the Puerto Moneda

The continuation of Calle las Cercas after the Puerto Moneda

The walls along the Av Independencia

The walls along the Av Independencia

And so to the West Gate!

The position of the former West Gate at the bottom of the Calle Ancha

This is a fun walk to do and I enjoyed both occasions!

Further information
The Roman and Mediaeval Walls of Leon