From León, our current photo tour went along the Way of St. James and so we were able to visit the last cultural highlights of this famous pilgrimage route. In the 12th century, the pilgrimage was not only exhausting but also dangerous, as the pilgrims were occasionally the victims of robberies. The path only became safer when the order of the Knights Templar (Poor Knighthood of Christ from the Solomonese Temple) was founded in 1118 and committed themselves to protecting the pilgrims in a vow. An important Templar site was the Castillo de los Templarios in Ponferrada, which we saw at a glorious sunset.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria de León is one of the most important religious landmarks in Spain and is also called the "House of Light". This name is no coincidence, as the light floods the cathedral through the many impressive mosaic windows and gives no hint of the original rather gloomy Romanesque church that was first built here.
Astorga Cathedral is now on the route between León and Santiago de Compostela. Many different styles are evident in their construction - from Gothic apses to Baroque towers. In addition to the religious peculiarities, a highlight of the church is its digital access, because it offers flights into virtual reality. so that one can look at the churches and their peculiarities from many different perspectives. Right next to her is a "fairytale castle". The building, the Palacio Episcopal, was designed by Antonio Gaudi and was actually intended as a bishopric. But the bizarre appearance and the horrendous construction costs meant that no bishop wanted to take up residence there.
Finally, the finale of the Camino de Santiago is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It is a mighty building with an opulent altar ensemble. In the church there is the Sepulcrum of St. James, which can be reached and admired through a narrow passage. In front of the cathedral we experience an exuberant mood of the arriving pilgrims and the joy of having passed this pilgrimage is very contagious.