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León

After Burgos, I headed for León, a city with an immensely important history for Christian Spain. León was perhaps the single most important contributor to the political and religious identity of the Kingdom of Castile-Leó. Historians and clergymen from this city were instrumental in reinforcing the idea that the conquest of al-Andalus was in fact a “Reconquista”, thereby linking the newly-established Christian kingdoms in the tenth and eleventh centuries with the illustrious Visigothic past. León also had an important identity as an “imperial city” since it was in the Cathedral of León that Alfonso VII (d. 1147) was crowned “Emperor of All Spain” (imperator totius hispaniae) in 1135. Naturally, the first place I headed the evening I arrived was to that very cathedral.

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The next morning, the first thing I did was go back to the cathedral to explore it some more. It was perhaps one of the most stunning examples of Gothic architecture I’ve seen in all of Spain.

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The rest of the city, like the cathedral, was also bursting with history. Here are some pictures.

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Finally, I spent the last couple of hours in León visiting the Basilica of San Isidoro, where Isidore of Seville is buried along with a long list of illustrious Christian kings and queens of Spain.

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