Walking around Astorga

Astorga, the old Asturica Augustea, was established as a Roman city and two important roads cross here – the Ruta de la Plata and the Camino de Santiago. The Ruta de la Plata was the road used to transport mined goods from the north (Gijon) to the ports in the south of the country (Seville), and pilgrims are still passing through the town!

Like most of the churches I have seen the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Astorga, which was started in 1471, was built on the site of an earlier Romanesque church.

The facade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Astorga

The facade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Astorga

The 18C Cloister of the Cathedral

The 18C Cloister of the Cathedral

The High Altar of Astorga Cathedral by Gaspar Becerra (1558)

The Choir Stalls

The Organ Loft above the Choir Stalls

Behind the Choir Stalls

A side Chapel in the Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santa Maria in Astorga

The Church of Santa Marta, the Parish Church of Astorga, sits alongside the Cathedral and the small building next to the church is the Celda de las Emparedadas. In the Middle Ages there were apparently women, in an extreme expression of religious fervour, who walled themselves up in this cell and who only communicated with the Church through another small window.

The Church of Santa Marta alongside the Cathedral, & the Celda de las Emparedadas beyond

The Episcopal Palace close to the Cathedral was designed by Antoni Gaudi and houses a museum about the Camino which we did not visit.

The Cathedral (L) and Episcopal Palace (R)

We walked down to the Plaza Mayor, once the site of the Roman Forum and where I set off on a short exploration in the surrounding streets.

The Plaza Mayor with the 17C Town Hall

The Church of San Bartolomé is the oldest church in the town, dating from the 11C and altered in subsequent years, but sadly was closed.

In the Plaza San Bartolome

The Roman Museum is at the opposite end of the Plaza of San Bartolomé and round the corner you can see the remains of a Roman mansion. Several Roman remains can still be found in the city (baths, mansions, and part of the sewerage system).

Next to the Roman remains is the Church of San Francisco with the adjacent Chapel of Santa Vera Cruz. Astorga is a walled city and the Puerta del Sol is the main gate through the Roman Walls and the entry/exit of the Camino. 

The Church of San Francisco, and the small Chapel of Santa Vera Cruz

Inside the Church of San Francisco

The road down to the Puerta del Sol, next to the Church of San Francisco

Pilgrims arriving through the Puerta del Sol

Opposite the Puerta del Sol is the Aljibe Park which leads to the Gardens of the Synagogue along the walls. There was a thriving Jewish community in Astorga until the Jews were expelled from Spain c.1490

The town walls in the Gardens of the Synagogue

The Roman Walls in the Gardens of the Synagogue

The site of the Lower Gate through the Roman Walls, just beyond the Gardens of the Synagogue

Here you find the Church of St Julian whose columns at the doorway look very old – I wonder if this was the site of a Romanesque, or Pre-Romanesque building?

The Church of St Julian

The capitals at the doorway of the Church of St Julian

Inside the Church of St Julian

And that brought the brief visit to Astorga to a close!

Further information
Background and here
The Roman Museum in Astorga
Research on Roman Astorga