It is located in the centre of the town of Fitero, in the Ribera de Navarra, on the banks of the Alhama River. It was originally located in the now unpopulated area of Niencebas, in Alfaro, at the foot of the Yerga mountains and next to Fitero. That is why the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Fitero is also known as Santa María de Niencebas, and he was visited by San Raimundo de Fitero and Cistercian monks from the monastery of l'Escaladieu. According to documents the first monastery in the lands of Fitero, was founded in the twelfth century thanks to the donation of Alfonso VII, being his first abbot Raimundo de Fitero. When the bishop of Calahorra consecrated the first altar of what would become a provisional church and later blessed the cemetery in this new and definitive location, it was when the monks moved to it.
The abbot Raimundo came to the aid of Sancho III of Castile in his border fights and the monarch donated to him the square of Calatrava la Vieja and to defend it Raimundo created a militia of monks of the cister that would end up becoming the Military Order of Calatrava. At first the monastery was, like all Cistercians, far from the village but in the fifteenth century, to increase the defenses of the territory, the houses were grouped around the abbey, being integrated since then in the locality. To speak of the history of Fitero is to speak of the history of his monastery and vice versa. Villa and land were the property of the monastery and it was the abbot who appointed mayors and aldermen. The neighbors' attempts not to depend on the monastery were in vain until the disentailment of Mendizábal in 1836, when they finally achieved their autonomy.
Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Fitero shows an architecture of transition from Romanesque to Gothic in the purest Cistercian style. The temple, the chapterhouse, the refectory and the remains of the bedroom belong to this first period. It was not until the 16th and 17th centuries that the cloister, the abbey palace, the sacristy, the chapel of the Virgen de la Barda were built....
The abbey church is one of the most important of the Cistercian order in Europe. It became a parish of the town from the sixteenth century. From the Plaza de los Ábsides you can admire the most characteristic element of the temple, its chancel, apses and chapels that form a beautiful and harmonious whole. Inside the church, in the main chapel, there is a 16th century altarpiece. The baptismal chapel dates from the 16th century and was built by subtracting part of the Renaissance-style cloister that is attached to the south wall of the church. The chapel of the Virgin of the Barda is of century XVIII was constructed to lodge the pantheon of the abbot of century XVII, Placido of the Corral and Guzmán, today in her the patron saint of Fitero is venerated, the Virgin of the Barda. The chapter house is the best-preserved room of the medieval period and above it, and along the gallery where it is located, was the great bedroom of the monks. Above the refectory area was where the library was located in the 17th century. Today some of the monastery's outbuildings have seen their use change, for example the town hall of Fitero occupies the old inn, the cells are a residence for the elderly, the library and the kitchen have given way to a museum and the refectory houses the house of culture and a cinema.
In the monastery of Fitero or de la Frontera, as it was located between the kingdoms of Castile, Pamplona and Aragon, the stonemasons left their traditional marks, and more than two hundred were catalogued. The curious note shows a giraffe that resembles a diplodocus and that which is from the Middle Ages.
The church holds important reliquaries, such as that of Abbot Raimundo. It also guarded, at present not in Fitero, an important collection of chests that stand out for their historical and artistic value: the caliphal chest, signed, made in ivory in the year 966, which bears the following inscription: "In the name of Allah, prosperity, happiness, joy and grace for the beloved Walada. What has been done in Medina Azahara, the year five and fifty three hundred (966), work of Halaf"; the Almohad casket, in ivory, where you can read: "Happiness, glory, good reception and blessing does not cease ..." and other small caskets made of wood from the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Legend has it that on the wall of a church chapel, where the Virgen de los Remedios was worshipped, a barda grew that entered through the stained glass window and when surrounding the feet of the Virgin this bush lost its thorns but continued to give blackberries. Since then this Virgin has been called the Virgin of the Barda.
The town centre of Fitero is located on the NA-160 road that crosses it from north-east to south-west and joins it with Cintruénigo and then connects with the N-232 Logroño-Zaragoza. In addition, the NA-6900 road connects with the N-113 road, which links Pamplona with Soria. There is also a daily bus service between Pamplona and Tudela, as well as Cervera del Río Alhama and Aguilar del Río Alhama. The closest railway stations to Fitero are Castejón de Ebro and Tudela.
The Monastery of Santa María la Real de Fitero is located at the southern end of the town, next to the town hall square, where we will have parking spaces to park our vehicle, as well as in the adjacent streets.
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10:00 h.501 km.
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