Right after entering, one understands it is a wonderful place. The elegant royal stairs, the impressive model in the entrance and the door to the Caballeros cloister are just an anticipation to the magnificence of this royal place.
Pantheon of the kings of the old kingdom of Nájera-Pamplona, built at the beginning of the Middle Ages from the cave where king Don García found the image of the virgin. A cave that you can also visit by the way and it is one of the most secluded places of the monastery.
Different styles: from the Roman or the Gothic to the beautiful Plateresque offer their splendor, without forgetting the exceptional cloister, full of filigrees, made by wise hands reminding me of golden spiderwebs. The shape of the capitals allude to the wine area around.
In many place you can see the monastery was looted and was almost left abandoned since there are statues without a head, others half destroyed, traces of battles. During those days of visit of different places in La Rioja I always heard the same: the French invaders and the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizabal did great damage to the heritage. Luckily, it has been rather preserved.
I could enjoy a visit almost on my own, intimate and it is something I was grateful for in the summer. The monastery gives some fresh air in the summer heat and at the same time it gives you some spirituality, which is not bad sometimes ;)
This summer I did my first excursion in La Rioja, a region that was still on my list. One of the things I liked the most was the visit of the village of Nájera, full of history, art an culture, with its magnificent Monastery. But, most of all, I fell in love with the views of the Najerilla River crossing the village.
While I enjoyed the views on the banks of the river, a man came by and asked where I was from. I imagine it is some kind tradition here, since it is part of the Road of Santiago. My friend joined us and the man told us the most incredible stories about the city, its transformations and its past. Afterwards we went walking through the streets of the old part of town and the old Jewish Quarter until we got to the Monastery.
I will tell you a secret: Nájera is full of incredible caves, such as the Cueva de la Virgen, that gave way to the Monastery and to a beautiful legend, with Don García as the main character. The beautiful Nájera left a very good taste in my mouth. We even had a break on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to have a glass of wine and a snack. Because it was Summer, the village was very lively and full of terraces on the banks of the river and the old part of town.
Nájera does deserve a stop on the Road of Santiago.