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This is the first part in a series of five Spanish to English city guides to León in north-west Spain. Today is an introduction guide to León and tomorrow we will look at the city’s history. Next week we will continue by investigating the city’s architecture, food & drink and finally its language. I have presented this guide to León in the form of Parallel Texts with a Spanish audio so that you not only learn about Spain and its major cities you also practice your Spanish. Check your listening comprehension against the Spanish to English translation, pick up lots of new vocabulary and expressions and work on your pronunciation by trying to mimic how I talk. This lesson is part of the Spanish English Parallel Texts Course and all of the lessons in this course are available completely FREE.

Parallel Texts León Parte 1 Introducción

In Spanish:

León es la capital de la provincia de León en Castilla y León, en el noroeste de España. León fue fundada en el siglo I a.c. por los romanos. Su nombre deriva del nombre latino de la ciudad “Legio VII Gemina”, de la legión romana que estableció el lugar de la ciudad para proteger el territorio de los astures y cántabros y para garantizar el transporte del oro extraído en la provincia.

León es famosa por su obra maestra gótica, la Catedral de Santa María de León, dedicada a Santa María de la Regla, y muchos otros edificios históricos, que incluyen la Real Colegiata de San Isidoro (que contiene el Panteón Real, un mausoleo en el que la familia real del medieval Reino de León fue enterrada, y también contiene una de las mejores colecciones del mundo de pinturas románicas), la Casa de Botines (una obra temprana del famoso arquitecto español Antoni Gaudí), San Marcos (originalmente la Orden Militar de la casa de Santiago, construida en el siglo XVI) y el Museo de Castilla y León de Arte Contemporáneo (MUSAC).

El edificio del MUSAC es célebre por su arquitectura vanguardista, y ha sido galardonado con varios premios, como el Premio de la Unión Europea de Arquitectura Contemporánea en el año 2007 (Mies van der Rohe). Diseñado por el estudio de arquitectura de Luis M. Mansilla y Emilio Tuñón, la inspiración para los paneles de colores que adornan el exterior del museo procede del rosetón de vidrieras principal de la catedral local. MUSAC se ha convertido en un hito para la ciudad de León y un emblema de la arquitectura moderna española del siglo XXI.

In English:

León is the capital of the León province in Castile and León, northwest Spain. León was founded in the 1st century BC by the Romans. Its name is derived from the city’s Latin name “Legio VII Gemina”, from the Roman legion which established the site of the city to protect the territory from the Astures and Cantabrians and to secure the transport of gold extracted in the province.

León is famous for its Gothic masterpiece Cathedral “Santa María de León”, dedicated to “Santa María de la Regla”, and numerous other historical buildings, that include “Real Colegiata de San Isidoro” (which holds the Royal Pantheon, a mausoleum in which medieval Kingdom of León’s royal family were buried, and also has one of the world’s best collections of Romanesque paintings), “Casa de Botines” (an early work of famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí), “San Marcos” (originally the Military Order of Santiago’s home, built in the 16th century) and the Castile and León Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSAC).

The MUSAC building is celebrated for its avant-garde architecture, and has been awarded a number of prizes, such as the 2007 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture (Mies van der Rohe award). Designed by the architectural studio of Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, the inspiration for the multicoloured panels that adorn the exterior of the museum was drawn from the main rose stained glass window of the local cathedral. MUSAC has become a landmark for the city of León and an emblem of modern 21st century Spanish architecture.

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