Molinaseca stands at the foot of the mountain pass, with the sanctuary of the Virgin of Las Angustias (of anguish) at its entrance. It is said that churchgoers and harvesters alike would pull a splinter of wood from the sanctuary door on their outward journey (a custom which the pilgrims have taken up) and, on their return, they would throw their sickles they had been working with through the grating. After crossing the bridge, you will come to the long Calle Real (Royal Street) flanked by many buildings bearing coats of arms. A small channel runs along this stony street, carrying clean water from the river Miruelo and formerly used to keep the street clean. This medieval system, which also existed in Puente la Reina in Navarre, is still used in Molinaseca on the 15th August, the last day of the village fiestas in honour of the patron saint. The parish church is dedicated to St Nicholas.
Ponferrada formerly boasted an iron-reinforced granite bridge, constructed by order of bishop Osmundo and which gave the town its name (Pons - ferrata or iron bridge). The river Sil passes through the town, a tributary of the river Miño ("the Miño carries the fame and the Sil carries the water"). The town is protected by a formidable Templar castle, constructed in 1178 and offering a harmonious beauty that pleasantly surprises visitors. The castle's characteristics are of particular interest to Templar scholars, starting with its size, which is out of proportion to the small military command based there and which, moreover, is far removed from any war fronts. The castle holds several Signs of Identification which appear in places of particular spiritual importance, such as the triple wall (evoking the three votes pronounced by the Knights), the Rose of the initiated on the entrance door, the Baphomet and the Tau. What is more, the twelve towers of the primitive fortress imitate the lay-out of the twelve constellations or signs of the zodiac. From this, the learned Luis San Juan has used some complicated cabalistic - astronomical operations to obtain the following phrase, which was written, so he claims, on the building structure as a message to the initiated: "En la taca que hay en la g de la ciudad cava, se sale a la entrada del gran secreto"
This circumstance, along with the statement by Fulcanelli in his book on The Dwellings of the Philosophers ("The holy grail was guarded by twelve Templar knights, this twelve-system protection brings to mind the signs of the zodiac") and the tradition that affirms that the Templar knights found and rescued the Ark of the Alliance from the underground ruins of the Temple of Jerusalem, makes the fortress at Ponferrada a possible hiding place for the two most famous mythical objects in the history of humanity: the grail and the ark.
From the book "Curiosidades del Camino de Santiago". by Juan Ramón Corpas Mauleon. Published by Edilesa