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Parador of Leon

By Gary Bumpas

The Parador of Leon is one of the finest and most unique hotels in the world. It has a matchless Plateresque facade and an ornate Baroque interior. Staying here is a dream come true for those who really appreciate traditional architectural design at its finest. "

Parador Leon is the epitome of style, and in 1829 the English writer, Edward Cook Widdrington, wrote, "There can be no beauty comparable to the arabesques and adornments of the facade of the monastery of San Marcos."

The true original name of this remarkable building was, La Casa Primada de la Orden de Santiago. Re-construction and expansion was begun in 1515. At that time, there was already a pilgrim's hostal on this site that had been founded by a pious local princess, Infanta Do"a Sancha. It has remained a hostelery for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, and also became the seat of a military order of priests, the Order of Saint James. During the times of the Crusades it also served as a monastery: It has also been a civilian prison, a church prison, an army barracks and a horse stables and stud farm. Now - it is one of the very finest Paradors in the Parador chain.

The Leon Parador surrounds a magnificent cloister that itself is filled with manicured gardens and topped by a colonnaded balcony. It's architectural style is primarily Plateresque on the outside - a style that was a transition from Gothic to Renaissance - and Baroque on the inside.

The city of Leon began as a base for Roman soldiers who were guarding the old gold mines west of the city. It was the garrison for the seventh legion and got it's name for the Latin word for legion - legio. It was later the capital of Asturias Y Leon, and was one of the most important stops on the Camino de Santiago. It remains today a place that has a subtle, yet strong attraction for the traveler. Leon has much to see...

Interesting excursions from Parador Leon into the city:

- Don't miss the spectacular Gothic Cathedral - and try to see it at night as well - when it is fully lit up.

- The Casa Botines, designed by the genius architect, Antonio Gaudi.

- The Real Basilica de San Isidro, an absolute gem of the Romanesque style.

- The 17th century Plaza Mayor, and the Plaza Santa Maria.

- The Leon Parador itself is one of the highlights of the city - you'll spend many pleasant hours just wandering and discovering its many fascinating areas - including its own museum.

Interesting day trips include:

- Driving north up into the mighty Picos de Europa.

- Driving east to visit the beautiful Iglesia de San Miguel de Escalada.

This is one of Spain's very special hotels. If life affords you the chance to visit this extraordinary place - use whatever means necessary to make it happen.

About The Author
Gary Bumpas makes it easy for you to plan and arrange your next trip to Spain. This time stay in palaces, castles, and other places of great historical interest and rare beauty. Go to:

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