I loved walking in the streets of the old city of Léon but I also wanted to see some of the contemporary architecture. Sadly the Museum of Contemporary Art was closed for renovation but we could at least enjoy the exterior. There was a service in the Church of San Marcos so photography, or even wandering about, was not appropriate. And the Parador of San Marcos is currently closed for renovation! So it was very much a ‘walk past new & old in Leon’!
The Junta in Leon
The Junta is the Administrative Headquarters for Castile and Léon but I can’t find any information about the architect. I think it is an impressive building, particularly after seeing the Roman walls and old buildings within those walls.
The blue building which is near to the Junta is the Edificio Europa of 1998. It was designed by José Alvarez Guerra, José Mª Ruiz Sanz and Luis Diego. But again I can’t find any further information apart from the fact that it is offices!
The Museum of Contemporary Art
The architects Emilio Tuñón and Luis Moreno designed The Museum of Contemporary Art, apparently inspired by the stained glass windows in Léon Cathedral. It won the 2007 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture.
The Parador in Leon
And round the corner and alongside the River Bernesga is the Parador, the Convento de San Marcos. Today it is a luxury hotel which includes a consecrated church and a museum. In the 12C the first hostel for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago was built here. But by the 16C it was in disrepair and rebuilding began. The monastery was once the headquarters of the Military Order of St James and included stables, gardens, storehouses, and cells. It was effectively a city in miniature. During The Spanish Civil War the building was a prison. Apparently up to 20,000 people were imprisoned here, and hundreds died in the cells and dungeons.
The Quevedo Park
The Camino continues over the bridge alongside the Parador, past the Quevedo Park, and onwards to Astorga. Francisco de Quevedo was a poet who was imprisoned in the Convento San Marcos in 1639, and the park is named after him.
We walked along the Paseo Bernesga and then visited the Quevedo Park across the river. The Roman Bridge next to the Parador carries the Camino which continues alongside the Park. Sadly I made a mistake with the camera and blurred my photographs. I could only rescue one image of this lovely place for strolling.
And after all that it was time for a cup of coffee – and tortilla!
I loved this city and I particularly loved the juxtaposition of old & new in Leon!
The Convent of San Marcos