Ponferrada, 'Iron Bridge' in English, is surrounded by mountains.  It became a city in the early 20th century. In medieval times, it was an important centre for the Knights Templar. Work started on their huge castle in 1218, and it was finally finished by 1282. Sadly for the Templars, they only benefitted from it from around 20 years: arrests started in 1307, and the order was dissolved in 1312. For the next 300 years the castle was owned by various completing noble families.

Another important monument is the Basilica of  the Virgen de la Encina. What does 'Encina' mean? A statue in the Plaza Virgen de la Encina tells us; it's a splendid story, so see the statue and read about it click here:

                                                                                              The legend of the Virgin of the Encida

The castle

The Basilica

Retablo del Santo Entierro   (Retable of the Holy Burial). Not a human relic  - a carving carried around the city on feast days.

Town views

On the day of our visit, the city was celebrating the 'Battle of the Brotherhood', which involved dressing up in medieval costume and having mock sword fights in the streets. The children of the city were enjoying it greatly.

On to the end of our journey: Santiago de Compostela

The Way of St James page 1                                              Home page - explore the site