Today we have a whole day to explore León, the city that boasts what many consider to be Spain’s most perfect example of a Gothic cathedral. As our local art historian will tell you, Santa María de Regla de León is one-of-a-kind. The cathedral’s 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.
As you will learn, the current Gothic cathedral has quite a history. Started in 1205, 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 date from.
In 1868, the cathedral underwent major restoration work where several elements that had been added over the centuries were removed to maintain the building’s original Gothic style. During the Spanish Civil War, León was not bombed as the city sided with fascist forces at the beginning of the insurrection, thus saving the cathedral and its windows from damage. Lucky us!
After another delicious dinner, it’s time to get some rest, as tomorrow we will be walking up to the Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross) at the top of Mount Irago.