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Astorga is in the Leon province of the Castile and Leon region of Spain. Astorga is one of the towns which lies on one of the main routes of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The 'French route' starts at the French Pyrenees and passes through Burgos, Leon and Astorga.
As well as being on the 'French' route of the Pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela, Astorga is on the Ruta de la Plata, or 'Silver Route' which passes from Seville in the south to Gijon on the northern coast.
Explore Astorga, Spain
Astorga's two main monuments are its cathedral and the Palacio Episcopal. It still has some impressive Roman walls surrounding parts of the city. The Puerta del Sol is the main gate through the fortifications leading to the old part of the city.
Here you will find Astorga's cathedral which was built between the 15th and 18th centuries and combines various styles including Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Inside the cathedral there is a Baroque carving of La Inmaculada by Gregorio Fernandez and a silver chest which belonged to Alfonso III (Alfonso the Great).
Opposite the cathedral is the rather bizarre Palcio Episcopal designed by Anton Gaudi for the bishop of the time who was a fellow Catalan. The palace's bizarre appearance and enormous cost horrified the church and no future bishops evers lived in it. It is now, though, home to the Museo de los Caminos, an excellent museum of the pilgrimage to Santiago. As well as the museum it is worth visiting the inside to see Gaudi's ceramic tiles and stained glass.
The town's main square, the Plaza Mayor, and its town hall are also very attractive and add to the beauty of this town. The town hall dates to the 17th century and has a Baroque facade. It also has a bell which is struck by two figures each hour. The main square is a great place to get a meal or a drink and is usually animated by the arrival and depature of pilgrims walking the "Way of St James" or "Camino de Compostela".
Astorga is popularly thought to be one of the most beautiful towns of Spain.
Museums in Astorga, Spain
The cathedral houses a museum with exhibits including the jewelled Reliquary of the True Cross.
The Museo de los Caminos, in the Palacio Episcopal, has an excellent collection of art and items related to the Camino de Compostela - the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Museo de Chocolate. Astorga had a flourishing chocolate industry in the 18th and 19th centuries and the museum is dedicated to this.
Museo Romana contains displays of Astorga's Roman origins. There is a roman prison as well as archeological artefacts from Astorga and around.
Places to Visit Nearby
Also not too far away is the lively and attractive city of Leon.