There are cities that hide their grandeur under a mantle of humility. This is exemplified in León, a city where the Romans established a pioneering camp, and its mediaeval inhabitants painted the 'Sistine chapel of the Romanesque period', crowned an emperor, founded the first 'democratic parliament' and erected the dream of the Gothic style. Buildings of Plateresque delicacy and the Baroque exuberance came later; and just yesterday, the modernism of Gaudi and the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture made their appearance. You will find all this under the same humble blue sky that witnessed its history. A new, fresh and modern vision of a bi-millenary city, with rigorous and informative texts that includes the latest data, such as the inclusion of the Decreta of León in the Memory of the World Register (UNESCO 2013).

Joaquín Alegre Alonso

205 X 270 mm | 96 páginas | rústica cosida

ISBN: 978-84-941432-2-9

PVP: 13,00 €



León is the creation of Rome and its military administration of the Iberian North-West. It was in that period that its walled perimeter originated. This fortification was successively used by barbarian tribes and Muslim hordes. In the reign of Alfonso III it became the capital of the expanding Astur kingdom, and started a golden period in the Middle Ages.

Bastion against the Cordovan  caliphate, when the latter started disintegrating the Leonese kings attempted to conclude the Reconquest twice, but it was hindered on both occasions.

The prestige of that court and the respect that imposed for centuries contributed to the creation of one of the most exquisite architectonic heritages in Europe. History and art are the main focus of this guide, which contains abundant images, and informed and elegant texts.

A guide for a city that always has something new to discover.

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Let me introduce myself, Walls and defences, Basilica of San Isidoro, Cathedral of Santa María de Regla, San Marcos, Palace of Los Guzmán, Plaza Mayor, Casa Botines, MUSAC, Auditorium Ciudad de León, Institutional buildings, Religious buildings, Palaces and townhouses, Contemporary architecture, Ornata est urbs, Museums, archives and foundations, Traditions and celebrations, Sanctuary of La Virgen del Camino

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The predilection of the crown to San Isidoro made it the recipient of all kind of presents, starting with the reliquaries. It was more than reasonable to exalt the remains of the martyrs who gave prestige to the institution. To collect the bones of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Pelagius, a chest known as 'arca de los marfiles' [chest of ivory] was made at the expense of Fernando and Sancha (1059). It was covered in thick gold panels until 1808 when the troops of Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult lighten it of it weight. The Ottonian-like ivory reliefs were obviously not elegant enough for their greediness. The inside is covered with an Islamic silk. A gilded embossed silver chest was made to contain “corporis Sancti Ysidori”. The sides depict biblical episodes while the lid (part of it lost) portrays Fernando I's entourage. The legend says that the rich Muslim fabric that covers the inside is the cape of King Abbad II al-Mu'tadid. There is documentary proof that the arrival of the rests of the saint from Seville (1063) coincided with a sumptuous donation that the moths of time have destroyed since then. Only the ‘arca de las bienaventuranzas’ [chest of beatitudes] and a valuable crucifix of ivory, both kept in the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, remain from those presents.

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