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Place of Interest

Monasterio de Yuso

tipo de documento semantico attraction


The origin of the construction of this monastery is reflected in a legend which tells how king García of Nájera, ordered the transfer of the remains of San Millán which were then in Suso to the Monastery of Santa María La Real de Nájera. The oxen which were pulling the cart stopped in the valley as if the Saint's remains did not want to abandon it, so the current monastery of Yuso was constructed on the spot. A 10th-11th century Romanesque monastery of which today no trace remains, over which the current monastery of Yuso was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries by the Benedictine abbots.

The Benedictine monks moved to the monastery in the 10th century. One of the most notable abbots was Domingo, born in the Riojan village of Cañas, better known as Santo Domingo de Silos.

The main door to the monastery was built in 1661 and depicts the relief of San Millán “Moorslayer” since, according to tradition, he fought against Islam together with Santiago (St James) in the battle of Simancas. The vestibule was made later, in 1689, and together these lead into the Kings' Chamber, called thus because of the four large canvases of kings who supported the monastery.

The low cloister was begun in 1549 and although its vaults are gothic in conception, it is Renaissance. Outside it is classicist in style and it houses twenty-four paintings by José Vexes, whose main theme is the life of San Millán, written by San Braulio, Archbishop of Zaragoza.

The vestry is one of the loveliest in Spain, the former chapter house started to be used as such around 1693. The 18th century frescos on the ceiling conserve all the rich original colour in spite of never having been restored. The walnut drawers and chests, over which hang twenty-four oils painted on copper in the Baroque style originating in Flanders, Madrid and Italy.

The monastery church was the first part of the whole to be completed, begun in 1504 and finished thirty-six years later. It is catalogued as being "decadent gothic". The grandiose altarpiece of the main altar has a canvas by Fray Juan Ricci, of the school of El Greco, depicting San Millán on horseback and the battle of Hacinas . The extraordinary wrought ironwork of Sebastián de Medina from 1676 complete the artistic whole of the main chapel.

The lower choirstalls were decorated by a Flemish sculptor around 1640, the retro choir in French Rococo style is decorated with busts depicting the disciples of San Millán, with the plateresque pulpit with reliefs of the writers of the gospels and symbols of the passion. The upper choir, somewhat later than the lower one, is supported on an arch with sixteen medallions, from the first half of the 17th c.

The shelves for the monastery songbooks hold twenty-five volumes copied between 1729 and 1731. The monastery archives and library are of great value to researchers and is considered to be among the best in Spain. Here the cartularies and three hundred original volumes are conserved.

In the exhibition room the replicas of the Romanesque ivories on the caskets are outstanding: reliquaries of San Millán from the 11th c. and of San Felices from the 12th c.

It was built by Benedictine monks, who stayed there until the disendowment and expulsion of the 19th c. Nowadays the Augustine friars are responsible for keeping alive the spirit of the monastery.

Additional information:

Adults: 3,50€; children (8 - 14): 1,50€; pensioners and groups (over 20):3€.


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Guided Tour
Handicapped access


Address: San Millán de La Cogolla
Phone: +34 941 373 049
Visiting Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10,30 - 13,00 and 16,00 - 18,00. Closed Mondays.
District: La Rioja Alta

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