Sahagún was the largest town I had been in for days, but when I arrived at three o’clock, it was in the midst of siesta. This town took its siesta very seriously. Since it was Sunday, almost everything was closed. I saw few people or cars and couldn’t believe how quiet the streets were… From Page 118, Camino De Santiago In 20 Days
I never understood the significance of Sahagún and the meaning of Mudéjar, until well after I had returned home and began writing my book. Mudéjar refers to Muslims who stayed in Christian territory after the reconquest but didn’t convert to Christianity. Their architectural influence in this area of Spain was very important. According to the Wikipedia page, the Mudéjar style of architecture was a result of the symbiosis of Christian and Muslim cultures. I know that the Mudéjar architectural is more pronounced, or extravagant, in regions such as Aragon in the northeast of Spain, or Andalusia in the south. However, while walking the Camino de Santiago, I definitely noticed the change in the style of architecture, and now have a better understanding and appreciation, although there’s still much to learn.
Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in Sahagún, Castilla y León. I left my last post, The Camino In Spain, Calzadilla de la Cueza To Sahagún, next to a patch of poppies on the edge of town, just as a brief glimpse of sun brought out the brilliant colors. It had been a frustrating morning, walking the entire time into a strong, cold wind. Entering Sahagún was a little drab, on a dark day.
According to Gitlitz & Davidson on page 228 of The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, Sahagún derives its name from San Facundo. I used their book for some of the dates and references to this post. If you’re walking the Camino, I’d recommend reading their book before or after your journey. It’s a little heavy to carry on the Camino but would be great in ebook format.
The Iglesia de la Trinidad was my first stop as blue skies appeared. I was excited to look inside, but was disappointed that it had been turned into an albergue. I went upstairs to look around but it had little resemblance to a church, and I was restricted where I could go. The hospitalera kept asking me if I was staying the night and I repeated over and over that I wasn’t. The church had a huge crack on the lower exterior that looked in need of attention.
The Iglesia de San Juan was right across the street, the front façade had recently been repainted.
The quiet streets.
The magnificent Arch of San Benito or Arco San Benito was awaiting at the bottom of the hill. The arch was once the front façade of the Monasterio de San Facundo’s church. This façade dates to the 17th century while the monastery was actually founded in the 9th century. The monastery was huge, with four separate cloisters. Most of the construction was completed between 1099 and the early 13th centuries. During the 19th century, much of the monastery was destroyed by wars and unrest.
Facing the arch, to the right, was the Convento de las Madres Benedictinas. There was a museum but it was closed either for the afternoon or possibly because it was a Sunday.
A closer look at the Arch of San Benito’s upper façade, with the rampant lions and the coat of arms. I haven’t posted this yet and now is a good time. I have trouble memorizing all the lion attitudes and found this excellent Wikipedia page for reference.
To the right of the arch were part of the ruins of the Monasterio de San Facundo. The tower was rebuilt in 1835.
More views of the clock tower.
I only saw a few cars and didn’t see another person on the streets. I had this garden all to myself.
As I walked away, one last photo of the Arch of San Benito.
I usually post this map of the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons) near the beginning of my posts, but this time, I’ll place it here. Sahagún is approximately halfway along the French Way—Centro del Camino.
I stopped for a moment to think about how far I had walked—about 400 kilometers or 250 miles. It’s quite amazing, and despite my minor hardships and frustrations, the sun was out, and I was having the journey of my life. Sahagún is another place I would want to visit again, hopefully on a day when the museum and churches were open. I’m sure the surrounding area also has some amazing landmarks.
Please join me on my next post, On The Camino de Santiago In Spain, Sahagún To El Burgo Ranero, as I leave Sahagún in the late afternoon, still walking into the wind. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the morning, and I had a pleasant evening walk. However, I had to scramble a little to find a bed for the night.
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