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Alfaro

In Plaza España, at the top of a series of uninterrupted steps in the shape of a shell, rises the brick façade, a late 17th century Aragon Baroque masterpiece. It is flanked by two 50 m towers. Between the two, a central section. The lower part is divided by two large pillars.

Between them, three large arcades sheltering the monumental doorways corresponding to the main nave and the two side ones. The central part consists of a gallery featuring nine semicircular arches. The whole ensemble is crowned with the imafronte (elaborate main façade) of the main nave.

The towers consist of four sections, the first three square, the fourth octagonal. On each section, three pillars and eight, respectively, which lead to openings topped by semi-circular arches. The towers are finished off by spires.

Inside, a rectangular floorplan, there are three naves of equal height, separated by a series of brick pillars. from these pillars and the walls rise semicircular arches which support the vaults. Among the buttresses there is a long series of chapels dedicated to: Nuestra Señora del Rosario (at the head of the church), San José, de los Desposorios de Nuestra Señora, San Joaquín and Santa Ana, Santo Entierro, San Esteban, San Juan Bautista, Niño Jesús, Amor Hermoso, de las Animas, San Roque (with a beautiful Baroque sculpture of the saint) and Los Araciel (we must highlight the delicately carved and highly expressive sculpture of Our Lady of the Sorrows).

Special mention must also be made of:

Choir: access through a beautiful and monumental Baroque wrought iron railing, work of Sebastián de Medina. It is made of walnut wood and very profusely decorated. Two series of Saints are aligned following the order of the Litany, on two choir stalls, the upper consisting of 18 stalls plus the Abbot's; the lower 13 plus the semanero. It is a magnificent work by the sculptor Rubalcaba.

Main altarpiece of Saint Michael Archangel. Altarpiece-tabernacle in the shape of a large Baroque processional monstrance. The whole ensemble is crowned by a beautiful sculpture by Gregorio Fernández.

Sacristía. Pieces of great value are conserved. For example, a Baroque style, 17th century ivory crucifix, with an ebony base and details in silver.

Alfaro

In Plaza España, at the top of a series of uninterrupted steps in the shape of a shell, rises the brick façade, a late 17th century Aragon Baroque masterpiece. It is flanked by two 50 m towers. Between the two, a central section. The lower part is divided by two large pillars.

Between them, three large arcades sheltering the monumental doorways corresponding to the main nave and the two side ones. The central part consists of a gallery featuring nine semicircular arches. The whole ensemble is crowned with the imafronte (elaborate main façade) of the main nave.

The towers consist of four sections, the first three square, the fourth octagonal. On each section, three pillars and eight, respectively, which lead to openings topped by semi-circular arches. The towers are finished off by spires.

Inside, a rectangular floorplan, there are three naves of equal height, separated by a series of brick pillars. from these pillars and the walls rise semicircular arches which support the vaults. Among the buttresses there is a long series of chapels dedicated to: Nuestra Señora del Rosario (at the head of the church), San José, de los Desposorios de Nuestra Señora, San Joaquín and Santa Ana, Santo Entierro, San Esteban, San Juan Bautista, Niño Jesús, Amor Hermoso, de las Animas, San Roque (with a beautiful Baroque sculpture of the saint) and Los Araciel (we must highlight the delicately carved and highly expressive sculpture of Our Lady of the Sorrows).

Special mention must also be made of:

Choir: access through a beautiful and monumental Baroque wrought iron railing, work of Sebastián de Medina. It is made of walnut wood and very profusely decorated. Two series of Saints are aligned following the order of the Litany, on two choir stalls, the upper consisting of 18 stalls plus the Abbot's; the lower 13 plus the semanero. It is a magnificent work by the sculptor Rubalcaba.

Main altarpiece of Saint Michael Archangel. Altarpiece-tabernacle in the shape of a large Baroque processional monstrance. The whole ensemble is crowned by a beautiful sculpture by Gregorio Fernández.

Sacristía. Pieces of great value are conserved. For example, a Baroque style, 17th century ivory crucifix, with an ebony base and details in silver.

...

Anguiano

The name of the monastery, Valvanera, comes from a Latin expression, “Vallis Venaria” which means " “Valley of the veins of water" since the valley had lots of springs, streams and waterfalls.. The origin of the building of the shrine dates back to the discovery of a 9th-century image of Saint Mary by a repentant thief called Nuño Oñez, according to the “Historia Latina” written by the Abbot of Valvanera, Don Rodrigo de Castroviejo in 1419. It is the Latin translation of a 13th century text possibly written by Gonzalo de Berceo in the "vulgar mother" tongue.

The primitive community of hermit monks which built up around the discovery of the image in the 10th c. gave way to Benedictine friars. Originally, there was a Visigoth church, then a Pre-Romanesque one consecrated in 1073, another Romanesque one from 1183 of which only a tower remains standing, and finally the current 15th century church.

The main altar of the church holds the niche of the Virgin of Valvanera, which can be reached from the side. The upper part is presided over by a “Pantocrator” figure of Christ, and below there are figures representing St Peter, St Paul, St Benedict and St Atanasio.

The rest of the monastery is composed of 20th century buildings in honour of the Patron Saint of La Rioja. Homage is paid to Valvanera as the most important carving. The author and date of this work are unknown, but from its characteristics, it could be a sculpture in the Byzantine-Visigoth style. Its origin comes from the context of the renewed Marian fervour in Spain in the first half of the ninth century.

Anguiano

The name of the monastery, Valvanera, comes from a Latin expression, “Vallis Venaria” which means " “Valley of the veins of water" since the valley had lots of springs, streams and waterfalls.. The origin of the building of the shrine dates back to the discovery of a 9th-century image of Saint Mary by a repentant thief called Nuño Oñez, according to the “Historia Latina” written by the Abbot of Valvanera, Don Rodrigo de Castroviejo in 1419. It is the Latin translation of a 13th century text possibly written by Gonzalo de Berceo in the "vulgar mother" tongue.

The primitive community of hermit monks which built up around the discovery of the image in the 10th c. gave way to Benedictine friars. Originally, there was a Visigoth church, then a Pre-Romanesque one consecrated in 1073, another Romanesque one from 1183 of which only a tower remains standing, and finally the current 15th century church.

The main altar of the church holds the niche of the Virgin of Valvanera, which can be reached from the side. The upper part is presided over by a “Pantocrator” figure of Christ, and below there are figures representing St Peter, St Paul, St Benedict and St Atanasio.

The rest of the monastery is composed of 20th century buildings in honour of the Patron Saint of La Rioja. Homage is paid to Valvanera as the most important carving. The author and date of this work are unknown, but from its characteristics, it could be a sculpture in the Byzantine-Visigoth style. Its origin comes from the context of the renewed Marian fervour in Spain in the first half of the ninth century.

...

Arnedo

Situated outside the city, in the spot where according to tradition the Virgin of Vico appeared to the Kan of Vico, leader of one of the Arab communities in Arnedo, in the year 1045. It was in 1456 when the Franciscano Fray López de Salinas founded the monastery which enjoyed its greatest splendour in the 17th century.

The monastery had a valuable library of which little has survived. The reason for its loss were the two fires which occurred in the building in 1635 and 1766. Nowadays it is occupied and run by sisters of the Cistercian Order. This order lives a life of contemplation, prayer and liturgy, although for their maintenance they work in the decoration of porcelain, making cakes and lodging guests.

Arnedo

Situated outside the city, in the spot where according to tradition the Virgin of Vico appeared to the Kan of Vico, leader of one of the Arab communities in Arnedo, in the year 1045. It was in 1456 when the Franciscano Fray López de Salinas founded the monastery which enjoyed its greatest splendour in the 17th century.

The monastery had a valuable library of which little has survived. The reason for its loss were the two fires which occurred in the building in 1635 and 1766. Nowadays it is occupied and run by sisters of the Cistercian Order. This order lives a life of contemplation, prayer and liturgy, although for their maintenance they work in the decoration of porcelain, making cakes and lodging guests.

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