Monastery of Irache

Ayegui, Spain

Santa María la Real de Irache is a former Benedictine monastery located in the town of Ayegui, Navarre, Spain. It dates from the eighth century, although the surviving buildings are later.

Adjacent to the monastery is a winery called Bodegas Irache, which continues a tradition of viticulture which dates from monastic times.

The monastery is first attested on a 958 document, and also cited in a donation done by King Sancho I Garces (10th century). The monastery became a landmark as a hospital for pilgrims en route to Santiago in the Way of Saint James. In 1813, the monastery provided medical cares for the anti-Napoleonic parties, like the one led by Francisco Espoz y Mina. Likewise, during the Third Carlist War (1872-1876), the Carlists defeated in the Battle of Montejurra retreated to Irache in order to get care for their injured soldiers.

Irache bore also witness to a decisive conspirational meeting on 15 June 1936 between the Carlist leader Manuel Fal Conde and right-wing General Mola appointed to Pamplona in 1936. The initially unlikely alliance took hold and provided the springboard for the successful military rebellion against the Spanish Republic that shook Navarre and Spain altogether.

In the sixteenth century the monastery set up a college which became Navarre's first university, the Universidad Real de Hyrache. It became a pontifical university in 1615, and closed in 1824.



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Plaza Irache 4, Ayegui, Spain
See all sites in Ayegui


Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Eva Ruiz (2 years ago)
Free entrance. Precious and sober church Worthy to do an stop in your trip.
Hannah Cameron (2 years ago)
Beautiful lovely place
Brian Dawson (3 years ago)
Came here a few year's ago with Saga Wonderful memories
Adele Broster (3 years ago)
Lovely experience, quite location, nice walk from where we parked our motorhome through the grape vine's.. Partook in the free wine too xxxxx??
Ana Sáez (4 years ago)
This is one of the saddest experiences in my life: visiting what used to be an impressive romanesque-renaissance monastery only to find a semi-abandoned building in a terrible state of disrepair. It seems reasonable that, as seems to be the case, there's some kind of renovation going on. However, the facade of the church under renovation looks so washed out that all one can only hope is that that's because the work is under way.
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