Relgious architecture. San Miguel de Aralar


These are examples of the religious architecture that can be found in the region set out according to period and location.

Medieval Buildings
These buildings are small and unpretentious built from stone in the rustic style. Almost all of them date back to the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.
The following villages have medieval churches
Larraun Valley: Alli, Arruitz, Azpirotz, Iribas, Lekunberri, Oderitz, Aldatz (old church) and Lezaeta.
Araitz Valley: Arriba, Gainza, Uztegi and Betelu (photo).
Basaburua Valley: Beruete, Itxaso, Igoa, Erbiti, Gartzaron and Udabe.
Ultzama Valley: Monasterio de Belate

Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical Buildings
In the Larraun Valley: Astitz, Baraibar, Etxarri, Uitzi and Mugiro.
In the Basaburua Valley: Igoa, Orokieta and Iaben.
In Leitza: 16th-century building altered in the 18th century.
In the Ultzama Valley: Alkotz, Arraitz, Zenotz, Eltso and Larraintzar

19th- and 20th-century Buildings
In the Ultzama Valley: Auza, Eltzaburu, Gorrontz-Olano, Gerendiain, Ilarregi, Iraizoz, Juarbe, Lizaso and Urrizola.
In the Larraun Valley: Albiasu, Aldatz (Order of St. Clare), Aldatz (parish church), Errazkin, Gorriti, Lekunberri (Order of St. Clare) and Madotz

There are pretty mountain hermitages situated in some stunning locations in and around almost all of the villages.
Visitors are recommended, where possible, to have a look around inside the churches.


Sheltered by mount Artxueta, the sanctuary, “el santuario de San Miguel” is situated on a small plain that extends along the foot of the mountain over the Arakil corridor and facing the San Donato massif. It can be reached by road from Lekunberri.

Its origin, which is steeped in legend, probably dates back much earlier than the sanctuary that stands there today. Although there are remains of a 9th-century Carolingian church, it was first documented in 1032 by the Navarrese king, Sancho el Mayor; and in 1074 with the first dedication of the existing Romanesque church. It was finished in 1141, but the small church that was built over the entrance to a cave, into which the dragon in the legend of Teodosio de Goñi supposedly escaped, was not completed until the end of the 12th century.

The interior of the sanctuary is magnificent, as are its contents which include the gilded silver image-reliquary of San Miguel represented with a cross over his head; and also the masterpiece of European enamelwork, the 12th-century Romanesque enamelled altar frontal. The central vesica piscis of the Virgin and Child is surrounded by the symbols of the Evangelists and enamels of the twelve Apostles, the three Wise Men, an angel and two more figures which have not been identified. It was stolen in 1979, but recovered in 1981.

In addition to the sanctuary, there is a hermitage dedicated to the Holy Trinity opposite the apse and an annexe which was once the Chaplain’s residence, a hospice and refuge.