It is located at a crossroads on a plain on the right bank of the river Órbigo. In the area, on the banks of the river, there was a Roman settlement. Being a very strategic place of the Roman road in the route that connected the silver mines of the Bierzo with Astorga and France, the history of the town can tell us many battles and contentions. In the 5th century the Suevi were measured here against the Visigoths and four centuries later it was Alfonso II, king of León, who reconquered Hospital de Órbigo from the Moors. In the 12th century, Doña Mencía had the church of San Juan Bautista built for the pilgrims and shortly afterwards it was ceded to the Knights of the Order of San Juan de Jerusalén who built a hospital and a house next to it. This led to the formation of a population nucleus around this, whose name, could not be otherwise, was Hospital de Órbigo.
Puente was added to this San Juan commission. In the 19th century, the inhabitants of Hospital destroyed the two ends of the bridge to prevent Napoleon's troops from passing. Today Puente and Hospital de Órbigo, are two different nuclei but forming a single municipality around its bridge, its river and its history.
In Hospital de Órbigo the 13th century medieval bridge, although with Roman origins, has been restored at different times, the last restorations are from the 20th century. It has been a national monument since 1939. Its parish church of San Juan has been rebuilt in the eighteenth century, the altarpiece is plateresque style and above the front, the cross characteristic of the knights of the Order reminds us of its origins, as well as the cross of the pilgrim or the site of what was the hospital and was in operation until the year 1850.
Hospital de Órbigo celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of San Juan Bautista on 24 June and San Blas is celebrated on 3 February. At the beginning of June the Medieval Justas de Passo Honroso are also celebrated.
The traditional event that is celebrated around the already legendary stories of the medieval fairs of the Passo Honroso reminds us, year after year, how it was that between July 10 and August 9, 1434, Don Suero, feeling himself a prisoner of a lady's love and as a sign of it, every Thursday an iron ring was hung around his neck. To get rid of this captivity it occurred to him that he and nine compadres would fight for 30 days against any gentleman who wanted to cross the bridge. At the end of the tournament and having won, Don Suero went on pilgrimage to Santiago, as he had promised, and when he arrived at the tomb of the Apostle, he left the ring and the blue ribbon symbolizing his love for the lady as an offering. At present, an image of Santiago Menor in the cathedral wears the ribbon around the neck, and the ring, which is a gold necklace, is found in the reliquary of the Apostle.
The trout caught in the river Órbigo has given this area great gastronomic fame. Although it is prepared in all forms and modalities, it is the trout soup that wins the awards. In the month of March the Trout Gastronomic Days are held every year at Hospital de Órbigo, where you can enjoy them both fried and pickled, smoked, in salpicón, laureadas...
Legend or history but it is said that Almanzor passed through Hospital and crossed the old bridge on his way back from Córdova and with a precious cargo, the bells that were carried from Santiago de Compostela.
To Hospital de Órbigo we arrive following the motorway A-71 that communicates León with Astorga, or by the N-120 that joins it with these same cities. At the same time, the LE-420 serves as a link with the different towns in the Órbigo region.
Hospital de Órbigo has a bus service several times a day that connects it with Astorga.
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