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.
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.
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.
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.
And so to the West Gate!
This is a fun walk to do and I enjoyed both occasions!
The Roman and Mediaeval Walls of Leon