La Bañeza

La Bañeza municipality lies to the southwest of León province, 45 km from the capital.

The municipality district has an area of 19, 7 km2.

The city stands on a fertile plain sprinkled by the waters of the rivers Duerna, Tuerto and Órbigo and is the head and commercial and service centre of an extensive agricultural region, the most important one of the province.

This environment offers us the possibility to enjoy a dense grove and some spacious riparian forests which allow a wide availability of natural areas, bathing and recreation areas, as well as botanical walks, sports excursions and rivers that invite to fish.

The highest point is Mount Teleno, 2,188 metres high and covered with snow almost all year round

It has a continental climate characterized by very cold winters and summer months of pleasant temperatures.

For more detailed information, download   La Bañeza Region map

How to come

The town has good road communications either by dual carriageway, through A-6, or by LE-622 road that joins La Bañeza with León and Zamora.

Alsa Bus Company Terminal provides bus connections with a good number of both national and international destinations.

As for train transport,  the nearest Renfe railway stations are  Astorga (21 km.) and  León capital city (50 km)
To travel by plane, the nearest airport is  La Virgen del Camino (León) at about  40 km from which domestic and international flights are operated.

Más información

Oficina Municipal de Turismo C/ Fray Diego Alonso, 9 +34 987 656 737

The first historical references to La Bañeza territory allude to the Astur character of its inhabitants. Near the current site of the town, in San Martín de Torres, the Astur town of Bedunia is  in all likelihood located, mentioned in several Roman geographical resources, such as the so-called Antonine Itinerary, which gives us a thorough account of the importance of this space.

Gold, metal abundance and agricultural wealth of the territory, led to the conquest of Rome between 29 to 19 B.C., culminating during the reign of Emperor Augustus. From then until the 5th century of our era, La Bañeza area was part of Conventus Iuridicus Asturum, within the province of Gallaecia, covering, during the late Roman Empire, the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

Its position in a real crossroads made it an area of dense human occupation and valued by several peoples during the Germanic invasions that ended with Rome. In the middle of the 5th century, Visigoths and Swabians fought in the environs of Bañeza, in the now deserted village of Hinojo (Fennel), for the dominion of these lands, leaving the winning victory on the Goths side. It is likely that during these centuries, 5th to 8th centuries, there was a smaller settlement near the present church of San Salvador, perhaps linked to a religious settlement.

The Muslim invasion of 711 devastated these lands, as the so-called Via de la Plata that crosses them was one of the thoroughfares of penetration used by the Arab armies in the conquest.
In the middle of the 9th century, by order of Count Gatón of El Bierzo, the current La Bañeza location was born formed from two different population centres. San Pedro de Périx founded one with the population of Pereje (Bierzo), another one with Mozarabs coming from Cordoba was settled around San Salvador, calling that habitat Bani Eiza which means place belonging to the descendants of Jesus. From the fusion of Cordovan Mozarabs and Bercians, the essence of openness and cosmopolitan nature of La Bañeza would be born as well as its first market and two parishes: San Pedro, which would eventually move to Santa Maria and San Salvador, which, as a family monastery, would be offered to the Bishop San Genadio in the early tenth century.

At the end of this century, Al-Mansur’s troops destroyed the monastery, which would be recovered at the beginning of the 11th century and again offered to the episcopate. The subsequent peace and its location on the Via de la Plata, one of the historic Pilgrimage Roads  to Santiago de Compostela, marks part of its  vital essence.

But above all, the medieval history of La Bañeza is the forging of its commercial and economic head character of a territory. Its market, famous throughout the Kingdom of León and, after 1230, in the Crown of Castile, is alive and active to this day.

During the modern age, our town was to become the head of the Marquisate with the same name in the hands of the Bazán family. To this prosperous town, merchants, artisans and traders arriving from distant lands of Europe would come, mainly Flemish and French ones specialized in fabrics, one of the most important trades of the town. Seat of the Adelantamiento of the Kingdom of León during part of the seventeenth century, La Bañeza became an active and open reference place of the Crown.

Like other cities, it suffered the consequences of the Napoleonic occupation and the sufferings of the Carlist wars. In the late 19th century, in 1895, it officially received the title of city from the hands of the Queen Regent Maria Christina of Habsburg- Lorraine, on behalf of her son Alfonso XIII.

Today it is a wise city built upon the open and cosmopolitan character of all its people since ancient times. A city that receives people with open arms, a city that is festive, carnival-loving, but also serious and rigorous in business, commercial and active. A city where everybody is welcome.

La Bañeza Gastronomy offers a host of dishes that can be tasted in any of the many restaurants in our city.

La Bañeza-style Beans and Frog’s Legs are the flagship dishes and those our cuisine is identified with outside our borders.

“Frog’s Legs” have become the king dish, the main delicacy par excellence, the main axle that moves the whole La Bañeza culinary gear, standing on top of the culinary ladder for its rarity and delicacy. Its success is due to the fact that this dish retains all its origins , both in the ingredients used in the preparation of its traditional red sauce, based on olive oil, salt, lard, paprika and some other secret condiment that distinguishes each restaurant , and in the containers in which it  is prepared and served, the typical earthenware casserole.

As for our famous and recognized beans, which are protected by PGI La Bañeza- León Beans, they can be tasted savouring the traditional-style La Bañeza Beans or in the most sophisticated dishes of nouvelle cuisine where they show that their adaptability in cuisine is endless.

At carnival, we can enjoy “Orejas” (“Ears”), “Dominós de Carnaval” (“Carnival Dominoes “), or “Caretas” (“Masks”) traditionally eaten at this time of the year.

Just before Holy Week is celebrated, “Bollos de San Lázaro” (” San Lazaro Buns“) are available, the oldest product of homemade La Bañeza confectionery.

Already at Holy Week “Sugar Roasted and Salted Almonds” appear in the shop windows of the sweet shops next to the bottles of “La Bañeza Lemonade ” made in a clay pot, based on wine, sugar, raisins, figs, lemon, cinnamon stick and any other baker’s secret, a mixture that is left to macerate for several days before it is ready to strain and serve.

In addition to seasonal sweets, throughout the year we can eat the most popular specialties out of our lands, such as “Imperiales”, exquisite dessert if there ever was one, where almond marks flavour, ” San Blas Pastries “, the fine “Toasted Egg Yolks”, “Besitos” (“Little Kisses”) with coconut flavour, chocolate and honey “Truffles” or chocolate and almond “Angélicas” linking to that chocolate tradition that has always existed in our town.

To close this section we want to highlight a very old custom which still lingers among La Bañeza families, this endearing habit is “La Cuelga”. On birthdays or saint’s days, family or friends tie all kinds of chocolates and candies to a bright-coloured ribbon, which in a moment of inattention is slipped over the head of the person being honoured to wish that person happiness.

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