Welcome to the Camino de Santiago with Fresco Tours! To kick off our trip we sit down with our group and Fresco Tours guides to learn about our next 10 days. Afterwards, it is time to get to know León, a city that boasts what many consider to be Spain’s most perfect example of a Gothic cathedral. As our local art historian explains, Santa María de Regla de León Cathedral is one of a kind. Its claim to fame is the 1,800 square meters (20,000 square feet) of original medieval stained-glass windows. This spectacular work of art is a must-see in person and a fantastic start to our journey.
As you will learn while taking in its beauty, the current Gothic cathedral has quite a history. Started in 1205 (13th century), it replaced the previous Romanesque cathedral, which replaced the original Christian church built here during the Reconquista. The Gothic construction was finally completed at the end of the 15th century, which is when the majority of the fabulous stained-glass windows were installed.
In 1868, the cathedral underwent major restoration works, removing several elements that had been added over the centuries, to maintain the cathedral’s original Gothic style. During the Spanish Civil War, León was not bombed as it sided with fascist forces at the beginning of the insurrection, thus saving the cathedral and its windows from damage. Lucky us!
We finish the day with a fabulous dinner to prepare for our first day of walking tomorrow!