At the lower end of the San Martín quarter, a square was laid out in a flat area between the boundaries of the quarter and the French Pilgrim Route to Santiago.
It retains all its typical Leonese charm despite the indifference of those who despise anything old, and is holding it own in the face of new building work.
It is set in a quarter of great devotion to Mary, to the “Morenica (‘dark maid’) of the Market” as the old Our Lady of the Way is known.
Giving onto the square are the Romanesque apses of the church where this Virgin is venerated, and this is surely one of the most original and prettiest squares of old León and, at night, one of its most attractive and picturesque.
In this square the cereal market used to be held, along with those of bread and other things, and the town-crier would read out municipal orders concerning weights and measures, game and fishing, shoemaking and tanning, and so on.
It was once a bullring, with well-known fights like one in 1663 when thanks were given to the Virgin for sending rain.
At the foot of the cross the members of the Confraternity of St Mary used to sing the Salve in sabato. The stone cross was once the city pillory and marks the exact spot where the Virgin appeared one 9th of February. In 1889 the stone plinth was made.
The fountain set up opposite the apse of the church represents the confluence in the city of the rivers Bernesga and Torío.
It comprises a square plinth on which there stands a column with an Attic base and a capital with acanthus and bulrush leaves and two beautiful shields of the city on top. Joined to the column are two large statues of children holding a lion mask under their arms, crossed behind their backs. The lion pours forth water into a bowl, from which it goes to two shells.
The fountain was finished and set up in 1769. The sculptures were made by Félix Cusac, aided by the Leonese José Velasco.