The great appeal of Rabanal del Camino is its natural setting in this beautiful valley of the Maragatos, the native semi-nomadic peoples of these mountains first noted in Astorga.
In the 12th century, Rabanal was governed and protected by Templar Knights who built a fort here to assist pilgrims. The current pilgrim’s refuge, Guacelmo, was once a 10th century Benedictine monastery that has since been rehabilitated.
Rabanal del Camino also has a late 12th century Romanesque church, the Iglesia de Santa María de la Asunción, which may have once been attached to the Templars’ abode. It holds an icon of San Roque that also dates to the 12th century.
San Roque was a pilgrim who on returning from Jerusalem cured those he encountered who were suffering from the plague. He is not only important to pilgrims but also evoked to protect against illness and misfortune.
Evening mass at the church includes sung prayer, Gregorian chant, in the traditional Benedictine style. Vespers is at 7 pm and Compline at 9:30 pm.
The Camino continues to Monte Irago and the Cruz de Ferro.