It is an old walled town in Leon located in the eastern part of the province, and on the banks of the river Esla. The most ancestral origin of Mansilla de las Mulas remains an unknown. The territory now occupied by the village was a crossroads in the ancient Astúrica region, very close to the city of Lancia. When the Romans arrived in the area in the 70's, they gave it the name of Mansiella or Mansella, constituting it as a military mansion and surrounding it with walls. Towards the middle of the 6th century the Goths conquered the place and later it was the Arabs who arrived in the area. In 753 it was King Alfonso I the Catholic who conquered the town. The clusters of Almanzor looted it in the year 996 and Alfonso V the Noble restored it. But it was not until Fernando II, when in the year 1181 he granted it a charter in order for the people to settle in the town, that Mansilla de las Mulas began to live a period of splendour, becoming a town with an important historical relevance as it was the border between the kingdoms of León and Castilla.
It was at this time, in the 12th and 13th centuries, that in the town, in the middle of the Jacobean route, craftsmen and merchants settled and shelters, inns and hospitals were built to attend to the numerous pilgrims who arrived here. In the 14th century, Henry III named Don Gil Vázquez de Acuña Lord of the town. Then it was the Enríquez family, Almirantes de Castilla, who took possession of it, being, according to documents, Don Fadrique de Enríquez who in 1500 founded the convent of San Agustín, which was razed to the ground in 1808 during the War of Independence. Today Mansilla de las Mulas is a beautiful and attractive town and is still a landmark on the Way of Saint James.
The walled town of Mansilla de las Mulas is in its totality a true historical-artistic monument. The three hospitals, the more than five churches, together with the two convents it had, testify to its importance. Of the churches, it is the parish church of Santa Maria, which was rebuilt in the eighteenth century, which preserves in a small museum several images and altarpieces of some of the churches disappeared. The old church of San Martín was built in the Mudejar style in the 13th century, modified in the 16th and 17th centuries, and today houses the House of Culture. Of the old convent of San Agustín, from the early 16th century, only the Villafañe Chapel and a façade on the convent wall with a frieze where the coats of arms of the convent's founding family can be seen remain. The eighteenth-century Virgen de Gracia hermitage houses the carving of the town's patron saint. Its bridge, so important in the history of the village, is of medieval origin and has eight arches.
From its walled perimeter five Cubes are conserved, old medieval towers with defensive value, two of them maintain a promenade which is accessed by internal staircases. And several doors, the Door of the Castle, that of San Martín, that of Santa María, that of Santiago or door of the Castle. The river can be reached through the Postigo, which is a small and secondary gate of the wall. The old Jewish quarter, or the parallel streets, which take us from the gates to the beautiful porticoed squares following their medieval layout, remind us of their glorious past offering us the no less attractive present of Mansilla de las Mulas.
Mansilla de las Mulas celebrates its patron saint the Virgen de Gracia on the first Sunday in September. On the weekend closest to the 25th of July, the day of the Apostle Santiago, a series of fun medieval days have been celebrated in the town since 1994, and on the 11th of November, year after year, the town celebrates the San Martín Fair, which originally had an agricultural and livestock character.
What began in 1991 on the initiative of a mansilles who lived in León and spread the enthusiasm he felt for his patroness to a group of friends by proposing a pilgrimage from León to Mansilla de las Mulas, has become a true tradition. The pilgrims leave the church of Our Lady of the Market in León and walk the 18 kilometres that separate them from the hermitage of the Virgin of Grace in Mansilla de las Mulas. Since 1997 in the village of Villamoros de Mansilla several banners from other villages in the province join the pilgrimage, which together with Mansilla de las Mulas give rise to a colourful and beautiful procession. When arriving at the village, the neighbours accompanied by the Virgin of Grace, go out to the bridge to, between applause and cheers, to receive the pilgrims, once in the hermitage a mass of pilgrims is officiated sung by the choir of the village and flowers and fruits of the earth are offered to the patron saint.
The San Martín de Mansilla de las Mulas fair was one of the most important that, during the Middle Ages, was held in the area thinking of buying and selling livestock. Nowadays, in addition to agricultural machinery and horticultural products, the primitive spirit of the equine fair has been recovered, giving rise to an important exhibition and concentration of horses, apart from elements from other sectors and, as could not be missing during these days, it is possible to taste a delicious cod in the mansilles style.
Near Mansilla de las Mulas, there is the Monastery of Sandoval whose Cistercian Romanesque church and monastic ruins tell us their story, but legend tells us that when Ponce de Minerva came to Santiago in pilgrimage as an offering for his release after being captive in Morocco returned home, to spend the night he took refuge in a hospital that, without him knowing it, had founded his wife Estefanía. When the woman was washing the pilgrim's feet, she recognized her husband in him and by such a fortuitous encounter they decided to found this monastery.
Mansilla de las Mulas, near León, is located on the N-601 that goes from Valladolid to the capital of León. At the same time by the north from Riaño, door of Picos de Europa, arrives until Mansilla de las Mulas the N-625. Also following the A-231 between Burgos and León we will have access to the locality, taking the detour of the N-601 that will take us until the population. At the same time the L-512 communicates it with the nearby towns and we can also get here following the road that accompanies the route of the Way of Saint James from El Burgo Ranero, passing through Reliegos.
Mansilla de las Mulas has a daily bus service that connects it with León, and through it, with different cities and Spanish capitals.
La Ermita" Bus Station
Calle Virgen de Gracia, s/n. Telephone 987 310 712
It also has bus service or transport on demand, which is a public service a la carte and the reservation telephone number is 900 204 020, this service communicates with different nearby localities such as Villimer, Villarente, Villamoratiel de las Matas, Vega de los Árboles, Rebollar de los Oteros ...
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