Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza

Hortigüela, Spain

San Pedro de Arlanza is a ruined Benedictine monastery located in the valley of the river Arlanza in Hortigüela, Burgos. Founded in 912, it has been called the 'cradle of Castile' (cuna de Castilla). It was abandoned in 1841 during the confiscations the government of Juan Álvarez Mendizábal, when ecclesiastical properties were roundly redistributed.

San Pedro's two purported founding documents, preserved in twelfth-century cartulary, were issued one by Count Fernán González and his wife, Sancha, and the other by Fernán's mother and brother, Muniadona Ramírez and Ramiro González, with Count Gonzalo Téllez and his wife, Flamula. Both documents suffer from certain inconsistencies and anachronisms that have cast doubts on their authenticity, especially that of Fernán González. It was probably forged to give the monastery a more illustrious lineage than it could prove to have. The copy of the charter of Gonzalo Téllez is more likely to be based on reality, since Gonzalo is known to have been active in 912. Fernán González and Sancha were buried at San Pedro, however, and remained there until the dispersal of the monastic community in 1841 necessitated the removal of their sarcophagi to the collegiate church of San Cosme y San Damián at Covarrubias.

The present ruins of the church are those of the building begun in 1080. It had three naves and three semicircular apses in the Romanesque style. Later modifications in the Gothic style transformed the outward appearance, but some of its eleventh-century capitals have been preserved. Among the ruins the three apses still stand, as do the tower (erected towards the close of the twelfth century), part of the cloisters and the chapter house, and the double-aperture and the tympanum above the main façade. The portal of the church was transferred to the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid in 1895. A large Romanesque tomb, said to belong to the legendary Mudarra González, was moved to the Cathedral of Burgos, and some frescoes have been transferred to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and others (like Paintings from Arlanza) to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona.

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Hortigüela, Spain
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Founded: 912 AD
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cee CC (6 months ago)
Una experiencia magnífica. El monasterio se ubica en un lugar de cuento, la muchacha que nos atendió era muy maja y el monumento... Definitivamente impresionante... Para amantes del romanticismo y para toda la familia. Maravilloso.
Georgina Lovatt (8 months ago)
It's so nice to be able to visit a ruin; something that hasn't been restored to make it look brand new, which happens a lot. It's a quiet place you can wander around at your leisure. Check out the oldest building of the lot up on the hill. Definitely worth stopping for.
Dirk Hombecq (9 months ago)
The best part of our trip was visiting this half-restored old monastery. How they could build all this and live too
Dirk Hombecq (9 months ago)
Incredibly beautiful and has been open for 2 months now after 5 years of repairs and you immediately have an idea how life played out there a few centuries ago. Free to visit for the moment and nature is to dream of. Do not hesitate and visit.
Jose Pineda (14 months ago)
Monastery under reconstruction, it had to be impressive, it is currently fenced and you cannot enter, there is a watchman.
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