San Millán-Villar de Torre footpath
tipo de documento semantico rtroute
To reach the beginning of the footpath, take the Pedestrian path to Yuso-Suso from San Millán. This path starts at the Yuso Monastery access square, where there is a sign with the footpaths of the area (Pedestrian path to Yuso-Suso-El Aidillo, Pedestrian path to Yuso-Suso-Labardera), and crosses the road to the cemetery. The itinerary is marked with wood-post signs at the crossroads. Follow the directions towards the Suso Monastery and, in a split in the pine forest, follow the sign to Villar de Torre instead of Suso. After about 100 metres, you will find the itinerary start sign. After the sign, take the route that ascends bordering the pine forest, cross a road and follow a trail that goes up a deforested hillside with some isolated Portuguese oaks, Pyrenean oaks and holm oaks. On the hillsides to the left there are Douglas firs that extend on a wide area. Continue and, after a while, you will be walking under the trees, with the fields to the left and a row of the native Pyrenean oak forest to the right. Reach a crossroads where an arrow indicates that you should continue straight and enter a greater Pyrenean oak forest. Again, after 200 metres, you will find another crossroads where you take the trail that descends smoothly towards the Oncedillo Ravine through the Pyrenean oak forest. Cross the bridge over the stream and then a fence the protects a repopulation on this hillside. After almost a kilometre ascent, the trail ends. Exit the fenced area and take the route that descends among a Pyrenean oak forest with plenty of ivy on the trunks until you reach Valdez Ravine. Follow the hillside footpath that, after a while, flows into a path that you take towards some abandoned pens. The path now goes towards an agricultural area. You can see a great straight line of almost one kilometre. After 100 metres, turn left and go along the edge of a repopulated agricultural plot with Douglas firs. Follow another agricultural path until you reach a turn towards the valley in 500 metres. At this point, take the new path that goes in your direction. It goes towards the hill and cropland area. Go to a new river bed with Pyrenean oaks and cross the Sacavacas Stream. Through an area of low hills you will reach the so-called Camino de la Linde. This will take you among croplands and, after 2 km, you will arrive at Villar de Torre.
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.
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