It is located on a natural balcony at the foot of the mountain range that gives it its name, in the northeast of the Autonomous Community of Navarra and almost bordering on the Aragonese community. There are writings from the 9th century that speak of the existence of a monastery in the place, which was destroyed by the Muslims. Reconstructed at the beginning of the 11th century, the church was consecrated for the first time in the middle of that century, although work had to continue until the 12th century. Although it was founded as a Benedictine monastery, the Cistercian monks inhabited it from the 13th century and were responsible for extending it in the 14th century in a Gothic style. The Monastery of San Salvador de Leyre had for a long time a great spiritual and historical importance in the kingdom of Navarre, knew disputes, conflicts, struggles ... internal and external, its role was also relevant in the Reconquest. When it became part of the Cistercian Order, its notoriety fell as a branch of the monastery of Oliva and under the command of its abbot, but soon Leire recovered its autonomy and its abbots.
The disentailment of Mendizábal in the 19th century led to the closure of the monastery, with the consequent abandonment and ruin. However, in 1867 the Monastery of Leyre was declared a National Monument and by means of personal initiatives it began to re-emerge. In 1915 the remains of the first kings of Navarre who had been taken to the parish of Yesa were returned to Leyre. Today, the monastic complex belongs to the Foral Community of Navarre, and for its care and operation it has been ceded to those who were its first inhabitants, the black monks, the Benedictines.
In the monastic complex of Leire are two buildings that were dedicated to monastery, the old, whose origin is from the ninth century and was located facing the mountains, a tower observes the passage of time, in the north wall you can see the original front. The Romanesque cloister of this monastery was located where today is the courtyard formed by the inn and the church. The new monastery, between the church and the valley, was built in the sixteenth century with an Aragonese style and attached to the south wall of the church of San Salvador de Leyre, which is one of the main architectural elements of the monastery.
From the Romanesque period of the church, 11th and 12th centuries, the crypt is preserved, whose entrance door is the oldest of all the monastic complex, is robust and rustic, resembles a forest of uneven columns with large capitals, was built to support the apse of the church and was consecrated at the same time, after the crypt a tunnel from the same period led to the outside from the old monastery, is called the tunnel of San Virila, today a gate separates it from the new monastery, the apses or head, the tower, the main nave and the portico, Porta Speciosa, precious door, which was built during the first extension of the original church in the twelfth century and is located on the main facade of the church. Inside the temple the Pantheon of the Kings of Pamplona is protected by a late Gothic wrought iron grille. This beautiful complex, immersed between nearby peaks, overlooking the valley and surrounded by the harmonious serenity of Gregorian chant, also offers the pleasant option of exploring its surroundings and discovering places of legend, such as the fountain of San Virila or, from the top of Mount Escalar, admiring the beautiful panoramic view over the Yesa reservoir and the Pyrenees.
The traditional devotion to the Saints of Leyre is lost in time. The martyrs Nunilo and Alodia were born in Adahuesca, near Alquezar, around 830 in a well-to-do family. Their father converted to Islam but their mother remained a Christian. They professed with great conviction the mother's faith and one October, when it was 848, they were martyred and beheaded in Huesca for publicly confessing their Christian faith. Their bodies were transferred to the Monastery of Leyre where they were kept as relics, but events and the evolution of history have caused them to spread, some in Leyre and others in the hometown of the young martyrs, Adahuesca.
The Monastery of San Salvador de Leyre is one of the most important monastic complexes in Spain due to its historical and architectural relevance. Possibly the head of the church of the Monastery of Leyre is the first manifestation of full Romanesque in Navarre in the middle of the eleventh century. The stones with which the monastery is built come from its own quarries that were in the middle of the mountains and close to it.
Everything suggests that Sancho the Great was educated as a child in the monastery, since in a document he refers to the abbot as "domino et magistro meo". It is also said that his father, Don García de Nájera, thanks to the prayers of the monks, was able to heal, here in Leyre, from a serious illness.
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The town of Yesa is in the middle of the old N-240 that joins Pamplona and Jaca. Today the A-21 motorway is in charge of taking us to Yesa from one of these two towns, being in this motorway where we will find the access to the town. We can also get to Yesa by following the NA-5410 which connects it with the nearby Castillo de Javier and Sangüesa. From Pamplona there are bus services that cover the route Pamplona-Liédena and Pamplona-Yesa.
The road that leads to the Monastery of Leyre is on the same access road to the dual carriageway, from this point starts the NA-2113 road that without further detours ascends to the monastery where we will have several areas fitted out as car parks.
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