Basílica de San Juan de Baños

Point of interest en Palencia

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Basílica de San Juan de Baños

Basílica de San Juan de Baños - Wikimedia Commons / Zarateman

Basílica de San Juan de Baños - Wikimedia Commons / Zarateman

In addition to being a unique and life-changing experience in which each pilgrim learns a little more about themselves, the Camino de Santiago passes through so many Spanish towns that it also gives us the opportunity to see some of the most emblematic places in Spain. One of them is the Basilica of San Juan de Baños, located in the town of Baños de Cerrato, in the province of Palencia.

The most important monument of Hispanic Visigothic art.

As it passes through the autonomous region of Castile-León, the French Route runs through the province of Palencia, where we can find some of the oldest places in Spain. From the first town hall in the country to the oldest standing church, which has also been considered a National Monument for more than 125 years. 

This is the Basilica of San Juan de Baños, located in the town of Baños de Cerrato, just 15 kilometres from the city of Palencia. Its construction, dating back to the year 661, is directly related to a legend. According to this legend, after a battle with the Basques and with health problems, the Visigoth king Recesvinto stopped to rest in this village. During his rest he drank from a spring there and recovered from his kidney problems, which he considered a miracle. For this reason, and as a token of his gratitude, he had a church built in honour of St. John the Baptist.

Several Roman remains were used in its construction, such as some of the capitals and shafts of the columns. In order to keep it standing for all these centuries, numerous alterations and modifications were made, which meant that even the ground plan was rebuilt. However, we can still see numerous Visigothic elements, such as the exterior door and the interior arches.

One of the most outstanding elements preserved from this Basilica is its consecration stone, as it specifies the name of the donor and the date of foundation. For historical purposes this is very important, as it serves to establish that the Basilica of San Juan de Baños is the oldest standing church in Spain. 

As if all this were not enough to visit it, we cannot forget that it is also considered to be the most important and representative monument of Hispano-Visigothic art. Without a doubt, the Basilica of San Juan de Baños is one of the most important buildings in Spain.

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