If you have already seen with your eyes or even listen in our audio guides, how the Romanic, Gothic and Renaissance overflow the streets of León, you probably have asked yourself… And what about the Baroque?
And you’re right, because in this city the Baroque seems to be playing a game of hide and seek between the buildings that are a must see in León. There is some in Saint Marcelo’s Church and little more in the Church of the Santa Maria del Mercado, where there is a mix of medieval and renaissance elements with a baroque tower.
But the closest you can be to a pure baroque building in León are basically these two: San Marcos Hospital and the old city hall in the Plaza Mayor.
Although San Marcos Hospital, nowadays a Parador Nacional (State Hotel), is not exactly baroque. It is rather late Renaissance, that is Plateresque, but it was built so slowly that its decoration was marked by periods after the Plateresque style.
Other times the taste of the client, that is whoever was in charge of ordering the construction of the building, forced to restrain the architects of the time. That is why the old City Hall of León, in the Plaza Mayor, is of a Baroque style, but very sober. It is a rather classic building, in the line with the style devised by Juan de la Herrera, one of the necromancers who dedicated himself to fulfil the architectural wishes of Felipe II. You can barely see any ornaments in it and the only thing that brakes the classic Renaissance style, are the pointed towers adorned with small lofts and covered with black slate.
This old City Hall of León is a perfect example of the dark and strange world of knowledge of Baroque Architecture of that magician who so faithfully served the royal wishes of Felipe II. From making gold with lead to making buildings like this one you have before your camera right now.
And to finish with, we’ll tell you that when this small replica of El Escorial was built, in the year 1667, its designer Juan de la Herrera had been dead for a few decades. However, as you can see, his style was still fashionable…