This town of some 1,710 inhabitants has a medieval layout crossed diagonally. It stands on the banks of the River Esla and is a major stopping point on the eighth stage of the Route to Santiago described in the Codex Calixtinus. It was granted a municipal charter by King Ferdinand II of León in 1181, who also built the fortifi ed curtain walls that surround it. It has been considered a Historical-Artistic Site since 1931 and the walled area has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
WHAT TO SEE:
- Interesting remains of the walls, gates and ve external watchtowers.
- Parish Church of Santa María (18th century). The town council would meet in the atrium of this church which has three naves and a transept. The interior has an 18th century Baroque altarpiece with three sections and a large attic. There is also a fascinating collection of ancient images from churches that are no longer standing.
- Church of San Martín (13th century). Happily restored, today the building houses a cultural centre. It has a single nave and the presbytery is marked by a pointed triumphal arch over three tombstones. The remains of the Mudejar coffered ceilings are also worthy of note. The main façade features a simple front dating back to the transition to the Gothic period, fl anked by capitals with pairs of single-headed lions.
- Provincial Ethnography Museum. Situated in the former Convent of San Agustín, founded by the Castilian Admiral Fabrique Enríquez in 1491 and donated to the Augustine Order in 1500. This three-storey building occupying more than a thousand square metres houses the province’s ethnographical heritage: a collection of more than 3,500 objects classified according to various themes.
- Sanctuary of La Virgen de Gracia. Home to the image of the Patron Saint of Mansilla, and therefore a popular place of worship in this area. It houses an extremely beautiful image of the Virgin with Child, restored by the sculptor Victor de los Ríos after it was damaged in a fire in the late 19th century.
One and a half kilometres outside Mansilla de las Mulas and after crossing the River Esla, there is an alternative route that is particularly recommendable for tourists due to the many monuments of artistic interest, taking us through Mansilla Mayor, Villaverde de Sandoval, site of the famous Monastery of Sandoval, and Nogales. From there we recommend heading back to the traditional route in Villamoros de Mansilla