Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in La Rioja
Monasterio de Valvanera View slideshowAt the heart of this industry is the town of Haro which can make a good base from which to explore the region. Logroño, the region's largest city, is situated on the Río Ebro and the Camino de Santiago, making it another popular stop for travelers.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain
The Romanesque/Gothic Cathedral (1180) occupies the site of an earlier church built by Santo Domingo. The free-standing Baroque tower was built in 1767, the doorway in 1769. The high altar has a magnificent retablo by Dami Án Forment. To the right of the altar is a Gothic baldachin over the 12th century tomb of Santo Domingo.High up on the wall opposite the saint's tomb is an unusual feature for a church - a Gothic-style cage containing a cock and a hen. This commemorates a remarkable miracle attributed to the saint. A young man traveling to Santiago with his parents was wrongly accused of theft and was hanged; but when his sorrowing parents returned from their pilgrimage they found him still alive on the gallows. They hastened to the local judge, who was at dinner, with a roast cock and hen on the table before him. He refused to believe that the boy was still alive, declaring that he would as soon believe that the cock and hen were alive: whereupon the birds jumped up from the dish and crowed. The boy was returned to his parents, and since then a cock and hen have been kept in the Cathedral to commemorate the miracle. The most notable of the side chapels are the Capilla de Santa Teresa, with the sarcophagus of a knight; the Capilla de Santa Verónica, with a 15th century statue of the saint; and the Capilla de San Juan Bautista, which has a magnificent Late Gothic retablo.
Hospital del Santo
Opposite the Cathedral is the old pilgrim hospice, the Hospital del Santo, now a parador.
Convento de San Francisco
The 16th century church of the Convento de San Francisco has a carved stone retablo (also 16th C.) by Bernardo de Fresneda.
The old town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada is enclosed by a 14th Century wall built by Pedro the Cruel and contains a number of handsome old houses.
Santa María del Palacio
A short distance away from Santa María is the church of San Bartolomé (12th C.), which has one of the finest Romanesque/Gothic doorways of its kind in Rioja.
Santa María la Redonda
Santiago el Real
The façade of the church of Santiago el Real is dominated by a monumental statue of Santiago Matamoros (St James the Moor-Slayer).
On the Way of St. James
The pilgrims' road to Santiago de Compostela runs west from Logroño on N 120 to Navarrete and Nájera (alt. 481m/1578ft), a little town on the Río Najerilla which was once a royal residence.
Monasterio de Santa María la Real
San Millan de la Cogolla
16km/10mi south of Nájera, on the northern slopes of the Sierra de la Demanda, is San Millán de la Cogolla (alt. 738m/2,421ft), which was visited by many pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. It takes its name from San Millán de la Cogolla (St Emilian of the Cowl), a hermit who died here in 574. The little town is famed for its two monasteries, both of which have been declared national monuments.
Monasterio de Yuso
Monasterio de Suso
Monasterio de Valvanera
From Nájera there is an attractive excursion (30km/19mi south on C 113) up the beautiful valley of the Río Najerilla to the 11th century monastery of Valvanera, on the edge of the Sierra de la Demanda nature reserve. The pilgrims' route continues west from Nájera on N 120 and in 19km/ 12mi reaches Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
The Town Hall and Church of Santo Tómas are places of interest for visitors.
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