The Abbey of Eskirotz and Ilarratz is on the World Heritage route of Santiago de Compostela in Spain at the foot of the Pyrenees.
The parish church is known as the Church of St. Lucy (Santa Lucia), but collectively the buildings are listed as The Abbey of Eskirotz and Ilarratz (La Abadia de Eskirotz y Ilarratz). The Way of St. James or Camino de Santiago passes directly alongside the church.
The building is one of some 1800 listed in this UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also registered as a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest.
In 2012 we began negotiations with the Archdiocese of Pamplona to purchase the buildings and land with a view of saving and later restoring the badly neglected buildings. In late 2014, our dream of owning the church became a reality.
Our vision is to crowd-source the skills, the means and the resources needed to restore this neglected 12th century* church. The church is rumoured to be a Templar church and symbols contained in and around the building seem to confirm this. Our research is ongoing but given that few records exist piecing the building's story together is a challenge.
Our vision for the church is that it will become a museum to itself.
The building has lived through so much - the invasion of the Moors, The Spanish Inquisition, Napoleon's crossing of the Pyrenees, two world wars, and the Spanish Civil War to name but a few…
If you have any spare time, a particular skill set, knowledge specialisation, or any financial / material resources with which to help, we would love to hear from you. So many historical buildings on the Camino have been allowed to go to ruin - our hope is that by saving this one we'll be able to create a ‘home from home’ for fellow pilgrims travelling on the Camino de Santiago.
* It's interesting to note that there is debate as to the building's age. Some architectural historians date the building's pediments as 12th century yet in some documentation the church's age is listed as 16th century. We are still trying to establish the ancestry of the building's but from what we've been told by various specialists, it appears the old 12th century fort was converted to the present day church in the mid 13th century. We'll update this information once we've learnt more.
DIRECTIONS TO THE ABBEY:
We're situated between Zubiri and Larrasoaña. After you leave Zubiri you'll pass through the Magna Mining complex and up to the hamlet of Ilarratz - The Abbey is a hundred or so meters further down the road from Ilarratz on the right hand side of the road.
About St. Lucy:
Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia (Italian Santa Lucia), was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletian Persecution. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches. She is one of eight women, who along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Her feast day, known as Saint Lucy's Day, is celebrated in the West on 13 December. St. Lucia of Syracuse was honored in the Middle Ages and remained a well-known saint in early modern England.
The church was involved in two world wars? This is news to all Spaniards!
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.