Parks, walls, and squares in Leon

I spent a week in Léon and I particularly loved going out on my own with the camera – just looking at what was happening, or perhaps setting out with a plan. On this particular day I wanted to walk down the walls, visit a park, and find a square. It was comfortably hot, and busy, but not crowded like the centre of London.

I set off from the edge of the Cathedral, along walls which I have previously described in more detail. Even in the daytime and during the week it was quite quiet here and I loved the atmosphere in the Calle las Cercas – it was so exciting to turn a corner and suddenly find myself back in time! It would have been fun to walk this section at night – you can imagine how it would be with the lights, and shadows.

The Calle Selledores, with the walls on the right

The Calle Selledores, with the walls on the right

The Calle las Cercas - the Mediaeval fence

The Calle las Cercas – the Mediaeval fence

The Mediaeval walls in Leon at the Puerta Moneda

The walls along the Av Independencia

The walls along the Av Independencia at the Av Lancia interchange

The walk along the walls leads to a busy interchange on the Av.Lancia where I found the small Correos Park. Trees, shade, and an area for exercising provided a welcome break from the hot sun.

The Correos Park

The exercise area in The Correos Park

The exercise area in The Correos Park

Across the road is the much more substantial Jardin de San Francisco which is apparently the oldest park in the city. In 1818 the Benedictine monks, whose church is still across the road from the park, gave the land to the city and in 1835 it was designated a public area. It was a hot day and people were sitting under the trees, playing cards, talking, or just sitting quietly, alone.

The Church of San Francisco on the Av Lancia, Leon

The Park of San Francisco, Leon

The Park of San Francisco, Leon, with a statue of St Francis (1981)

The late 18C Fountain of Neptune

The late 18C Fountain of Neptune

I then walked through a break in the walls at the road interchange, the site of one of the Mediaeval Gates, up the Calle San Francisco in search of the Plaza del Grano. The road is quiet and at the first little square I found the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, originally a palace but changed to a Convent in 1489.

The Convent of the Immaculate Conception, in the square of the same name

The Convent of the Immaculate Conception, in the square of the same name

Turn right down the Calle Herreros, the route of the French Camino, and you find the Iglesia Nossa Señora del Mercado, also known as Santa Maria del Camino, which backs on to the Plaza del Grano. The church was started in the 11C but has been considerably changed over the centuries.

Calle Herreros with the Eglesia del Mercado

Calle Herreros with the Iglesia del Mercado

The interior of Nossa Senora del Mercado

The interior of Nossa Senora del Mercado

The Plaza del Grano, the mediaeval square where grain was sold, was quiet on this occasion, and calm. A few people were chatting over drinks, and pilgrims drifted through, heading for the Hospederia Monastica, a small hotel within a community of Benedictine Nuns. Currently twenty three nuns live in the community which has stood for over 400 years. The fountain of 1769 in the middle of the square has statues of two children who represent the Bernesga and Torío rivers which meet just south of the city.

The cross in the Plaza del Grano

The Fountain in the Plaza del Grano

The Plaza del Grano with the Hospederia Monastica glowing in the evening sun

The Plaza del Grano with the Hospederia Monastica glowing in the evening sun

Round the corner I found the Plaza Don Gutierrez with the Palace of Don Gutiérre, restored and now the cultural centre of this district – there is something wonderful around every corner here! This is another small square which used to host a market – in Mediaeval times – …

The Plaza Don Gutierrez

Coat of Arms on the Don Gutierre Palace in the square

The Plaza Mayor on a quiet day

…through the Plaza Mayor, past the Cathedral and San Pedro de las Huertas just outside the Roman East Gate. San Pedro de las Huertas,which dates to the 16C, was built on the site of the 10C Monastery of St Peter and St Paul, a religious establishment which accommodated both sexes…

A man about to pass through the former Roman East Gate of Leon

San Pedro de las Huertas, which dates to the 16C, was built on the site of the 10C Monastery of St Peter and St Paul, a religious establishment which accommodated both sexes…

San Pedro de las Huertas, with the Cathedral of Leon behind

…and so back to the marvellous AirBnB – a wonderful few hours in a glorious city!