Santa María la Real de Irache Monastery

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Church of the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Irache

The Monastery of Santa María la Real de Irache ( Spanish Monasterio de Santa María la Real de Irache ), short form Monastery of Irache , is a former Benedictine monastery near the small town of Estella in the northern Spanish province of Navarra . It is located on the Camino Francés of the Camino de Santiago and was an important pilgrimage hostel in the Middle Ages .


The Irache monastery is one of the oldest in Navarre and was probably originally a Visigoth cenobium . After the reconquest of the area in 914 by Sancho I. Garcés , King of Navarre, it was formed by the Cluniacens into the spiritual and spiritual bulwark of the Reconquista .

958 was Irache first documented as Abbey mentioned the Benedictines. In 1054 - before the establishment of Estella and even before the establishment of the Roncesvalles inn - it was here by order of García III. Ramirez of Nájera set up a pilgrims' hospice. The monastery played an important role for the numerous pilgrims who came in, who in turn formed an important basis for the abbey's prosperity and economic well-being.

The term of office of the most famous abbot of Irache also fell during this period : San Veremundo from nearby Villatuerta, who was later canonized and promoted to patronage of the monastery . He led the monastery from 1056 to 1093, which reached its greatest splendor during this time and with its pilgrims' hostel became an indispensable stage destination for all pilgrims. The importance of the monastery in its time is to be seen against the background of the territorial expansion of the Navarre kingdom and the location on a main road at the time of the blossoming Jacob's pilgrimage .

A gradual decline set in from the 14th century, which was halted in 1522 by the connection to the Benedictine monastery of Valladolid . From 1534 to 1824 there was a university here that had the task of defending the Immaculate Conception of Mary . With the closure of the monastery, she was moved to Sahagún .

The Navarre Ethnographic Museum, Museo Etnológico de Navarra “Julio Caro Baroja” , is currently being set up in part of the former monastery building . In addition, other areas are to be converted into a Parador hotel.

Monastery church

The Romanesque church from the 12th / 13th centuries Century as basilikales nave in the shape of a Latin cross created: Three vessels each terminating in a vestibule , above the crossing with the cross ship bulges a wide dome, the vaults of heavy belt ribs are of cruciform pillar bundles worn. The church tower, built in 1609 instead of Romanesque twin towers, is based on the Herrera style . The silver-plated statue of Santa Maria la Réal from the 12th century and the Plateresque reliquary of San Veremundo can be found in Estella today. With the secularization they were brought to the Iglesia del Castillo there.


The cloister was built between 1540 and 1586 according to the plans of Martín de Oyarzábal in the Plateresque style, the upper floor in 1589 in the Mannerist style by Juan Sarobe. It is one of the best examples of its kind and can be compared to the cloister of the former monastery of San Zoilo in Carrión de los Condes . The sculptures refer to religious and mythological themes like scenes (including: Childhood and Passion of Christ , the life of St. Benedict of Nursia , Prometheus with the eagle, Hercules with the hydra); the medallions of the vaulted ceiling depict saints and monks.

The door by Juan de Aguirre, called Especiosa , dates from the first phase of construction and connects the church with the cloister. It is decorated with sculptures on both sides; you can see: Peter and Paul , Assumption and Coronation, the religious saints Benedict and Bernhard .

In the 17th century another building with a cloister was built for the university in the strict style of early Spanish baroque .

Wine fountain

Wine Fountain

The Bodegas Irache winery is right next to the monastery buildings . With reference to the tradition of Benedictine hospitality, which it wants to continue, the former monastery winery has installed a “Fuente del Vino”, a “wine fountain” at this location. It is also known under the name "Fuente de Irache" and is sometimes referred to as "Weinquelle" in German-language publications. The “wine fountain” consists of two taps placed above a basin - one tap, one for red wine - which traditional pilgrims in particular, on foot, horse or bike, can use to refresh themselves with drinking water or a sip of Irache wine free of charge .

The winery provides 70 liters of red wine a day for this purpose and asks for moderate consumption; however, many pilgrims miss out on summer days and weekend afternoons. The Bodegas Irache company became known not least for its “wine fountain”, which, beyond the friendly gesture, is probably one of the most effective marketing instruments along the Spanish Way of St. James.


  • Heinz Schomann: Art monuments of the Iberian Peninsula; Part 1 - Portugal and Northern Spain . Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1996 (= special edition for members of the Scientific Book Society).
  • Millán Bravo Lozano: Practical pilgrim guide. The Camino de Santiago . 8th edition, Ed. Everest, Madrid a. a. 2002, ISBN 84-241-3835-X . (German translation; Spanish original title: Guía práctica del peregrino )
  • Cordula Rabe: Spanish Way of St. James. From the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. All stages - with variants and height profiles. 41 stages . 3rd edition, Bergverlag Rother , Munich 2007 (= Rother hiking guide), ISBN 978-3-7633-4330-0 .

Web links

Commons : Monastery of Santa María la Real de Irache  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Museo Etnológico Julio Caro Baroja de Irache -Ayegui- on (Spanish)
  2. Homepage of the Museo Etnológico de Navarra (Spanish)
  3. “Economía / Empresas.-Gobierno navarro y el Estado firman escritura para convertir Monasterio de Irache en Parador Nacional” , , December 5, 2006 (Spanish)
  4. Monasterio de Irache (Spanish)
  5. Dietrich Höllhuber, Werner Schäfke : The Spanish Way of St. James. Landscape, history and art on the way to Santiago de Compostela . 5th update Ed., DuMont Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 2006, ISBN 3-7701-4862-2 , p. 95
Muszla Jakuba.svg
Navigation bar St. James " Camino Francés "

← Previous location: Estella 2.6 km  | Santa María la Real de Irache Monastery  | Next town: Azqueta 5 km  →


Coordinates: 42 ° 39 '0.2 "  N , 2 ° 2' 35.5"  W.