It is located in the town of Cañas. This village is only 5 km from Azofra, where the Jacobean Way runs, so many pilgrims take this variant to visit it. The abbey of Cistercian nuns of the order of San Bernardo that inhabits the Monastery of Santa María del Salvador, was one of the first female communities of the Cistercian of the peninsula.
The Count López de Haro and his wife donated the villages of Cañas and Canillas to the community of nuns of the monastery of Hayuela, near Santo Domingo de la Calzada, in the year 1.170, so that they could found an abbey there. There are three clearly differentiated stages in its construction, the Romanesque barely remains anything, part of the church and chapter house correspond to the Gothic of the mid-13th century, the central nave corresponds to the sixteenth century and the main front of the Monastery which is 1.757. Until 1.594, the Abbesses were for life, from then on they are elected every three years. It is a group of buildings that make up the monastery, which are arranged around the cloister following the characteristic layout of the Cistercian foundations. To the north is the church, typically Gothic.
Of the three naves with which it was originally designed, only the central one was built. The lateral naves were built only up to the transept, and the sections that extend into the closing walls of the transept to the north and south remain as evidence of them. During restoration work on the temple, the false enhancement of the main altarpiece was removed and some tri-lobed twin arches, a sample of Rioja architecture, were uncovered. To the east, among other rooms is the chapter house, where important meetings took place and where the nuns confessed before the abbess. They differ from the chapter rooms of the male monasteries, in that the bedrooms of the nuns were not above the chapter room, which gives these rooms greater monumentality and development in height. In the chapter house we can appreciate the beautiful sepulchre of the Beata Urraca López de Haro, abbess and promoter of the monastery, who died in 1.262. To the south the refectory, the kitchen... And to the east the cilla (or what is the warehouse and the cellar) now rehabilitated as a museum. The cloister itself is a sample of the different periods in which the construction of the abbey took place, Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar can be seen in its twelve doorways, although the current one is dated to the eighteenth century and is rather classicist.
In the museum, in the relics room, there are also several skulls that say that they belong to some of the "eleven thousand virgins" of the legend of Saint Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins that accompanied her on her pilgrimage, back in the fourth century, that falling into the hands of the Hun barbarous, died martyrs for defending their virginity. In the place where, according to tradition, they were killed, a church was built, in later excavations a cemetery was found and people said that they were the remains of the martyrs, thus beginning the traffic of relics of which some of them reached the monastery of Cañas.
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The monastery has a large collection of relics that it has been compiling over the centuries, including the horseshoes of the horse of Santiago, which Diego López de Haro collected at the battle of Navas de Tolosa and gave to his daughter and abbess of the monastery the blessed Doña Urraca.
In the relic room there is a "Lignum Crucis", a piece of the Cross of Christ, which according to tradition is invoked to protect against storms, exposing the relic to the wind and reciting "tente nube, tente tú, que Dios puede más que tú".
You can get to Cañas well by the LR-206 that joins it, on the one hand with the nearby municipalities of Alesanco and Azofra, as well as connecting it with the Camino A-12 dual carriageway and the N-120 between Logroño and Burgos, on the other with Berceo and San Millán de la Cogolla, or by the LR-327 that joins the LR-204 between the towns of Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Badarán. From Monday to Friday, the town of Cañas has an intercity bus service.
The monastery is located at the entrance to the town, coming by road from Azofra and Alesanco. Next to the wall that protects it we will find a large car park and from here we only have to follow the wall of the monastery to find the entrance to the enclosure and the building that houses the visitor information point.
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3:35 h.14 km.
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