cabecera ponferrada 

The town of Ponferrada, covering 283 km2, has a population of 70,000 inhabitants and is the capital of El Bierzo Region. The town – situated at the confluence of the rivers Sil and Boeza – lies in the centre of an area surrounded by numerous major mountain ranges which, at their lowest point, create a wide plain where Ponferrada and its municipality are set. Surrounded by many villages and towns which are spread in a territory of high diversity and forest wealth covering 77% of the municipality’s surface, this creates a privileged human and natural area, between the tradition of its significant heritage asset and the dynamics of this modern town.

Historically, the town’s name and origin come from the construction of a medieval bridge (11th century) – iron-reinforced (Pons Ferrata) – over the Sil river which has been part of the route taking by pilgrims on their way to Santiago for centuries. This ancient Jacobean milestone, enclave of the Order of the Temple (12-14th centuries), is an independent and modern hospitable town with its old town, its quiet streets and squares, and its varied natural surroundings – dominated by the Castillo de los Templarios (Knights Templar Castle). It is the perfect starting point to enjoy the town’s wealth of tourist and cultural heritage sites, discovering the friendliness of its people, its high-quality cuisine, its splendid wines and a wide range of commercial and hotel establishments.

City of Museums (Ene.National Energy Museum, Museum of El Bierzo, The Radio Museum ‘Luis del Olmo’, The Railway Museum and The Brotherhoods Museum), among its historical heritage, symbolic and with a sense of identity, stands out the Knights Templar Castle, Site of Cultural Interest declared National Monument in 1924. A 8,000 m2 fortress with castles, walls, towers, coats of arms, portholes and balconies, built over different periods and in different styles (12-16th centuries) which create a unique monumental ensemble, regarded as one of most important Templar sites in Europe. Among the murmur of rivers, mountains and pilgrims’ footprints, the spirit of the mythical monks-knights survived on its stones, those who were the first world military order, and who built and inhabited the Castle for over a century.

After the dissolution of the Knights Templar Order at the beginning of the 14th century, the fortress was rebuilt in successive stages, mainly during the 15th century, when Pedro Álvarez Osorio, the First Count of Lemos, constructed the door, part of the towers and the great Palace found inside the enclosure. The restored palatial buildings house a permanent exhibition of facsimile books, author’s books and ‘Templum Libri’ graphic work, one of the best collections of its kind in the world. This, together with the unique Templar Library of the Castle, invites visitors to experience unique sensations in the light of history and the glow of the magical emotion of the legend.


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