Located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, the city of León is the capital of the Province of León, inserted in the Castilla y León autonomous community.
As the convergence of two historical routes - Camiño de Santiago (Path of St. James) and Rota de la Plata (Silver Route) – this province, with a population of approximately half a million people, has an area greater than fifteen thousand Km2, bordering with seven provinces of four autonomous communities, and is the natural exit for the Asturias and Galicia regions.
The city was founded in the first century, as the barracks of the 7th Roman Legion, deriving from the need to establish control over the gold mining routes of the northeast of the Peninsula.
In the year of 914 it becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Asturias and Léon by decision of King Ordoño II. Converted in 1135, by Alfonso VII, as the imperial court it held, in 1188, with Alfonso IX, the first European courts, known as the Cortes de León.
In 1983, the province of León joined with the neighbouring province of Castilla, and gave origin to the autonomous community of Castilla y León.
With a population of almost 150,000, the city of Léon attained its first large growth from the beginning of the Sixties, but its boost into a modern, open and forward looking city took place in the Nineties, with the building of new and modern districts, such as Eras de Renueva, La Lastra or La Torre.
Famous for its Gothic Cathedral, León has many historical and monumental buildings, such as the Colegiata de San Isidoro, the House of Botines, a neo-classical work and one of the first designed by Gaudí, San Marcos, built in the 16th century, with one of the more famous renaissance façades, and the Palacio de los Guzmanes, where the province’s parliament is now located.
Modern architecture also finds its expression in this city, shown in modern and singular buildings such as the León Auditorium, the MUSAC (Museum of Modern Art) and the bio-climatic building of EREN (Regional Energy Authority).
An important feature in the city’s life is its University. Founded in 1979, although its origins go back to the 19th century, it is spread over three geographic areas: the Chancellery, in the city centre, the Vegazana Campus, to the north of the city, and the Ponferrada Campus, in the neighbouring city of Ponferrada, approximately 110 km west of Léon.
Highlighted amongst its traditions are the Easter celebrations, which go back to the 16th century, as well as the feasts of St. John and St. Peter, in June, and the traditional pageant of San Froilán, on the Sunday prior to October 5.
The province of León does not have a uniform climate, due to its being a mountainous region. Although its far northeast is only 30Km away from the Cantabrian Sea, it’s climate is generally cold and summer is always very short, at times even inexistent.
With an altitude varying between 300m and 2.000m, it often snows, even in the month of June, in its eastern hills. The hottest season comes between July 15 and August 15, when temperatures can reach 30ºC.
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