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Did you know that... the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu

 

Located in the municipality of Oñati, in Guipúzcoa, cradled by several mountain ranges, the Elguea, the Aizkorri, which is not the highest peak of the massif of the same name but the most popular and known of it, the massif Aloña...., in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, is immersed in a magical landscape in which ravines and chasms intermingle with steep mountains, wooded hills and beautiful waterfalls. The Sanctuary of Arantzazu-Aranzazu begins its journey in history with the mysterious apparition of the Virgin of Aránzazu in 1468. In dark and bellicose times for the people of the different territories of the Basque Country, produced in part by the Banderizas Wars, devotion to the Virgin deepened among the people and the nobles of Oñati who built a primitive hermitage. As there were many pilgrims coming to the holy place, a hospice and a monastery were also built, in which the Mercedarian friars were already established in 1493, but the Dominicans immediately took charge of the Sanctuary and its facilities, although in the end it was the Franciscans, in 1514, who were in charge of the worship of Andra Mari de Aránzazu.

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu

A little more history

 

The Sanctuary of Arantzazu has suffered throughout its history three devastating fires, the first was the night of the feast of St. John the Evangelist in 1553. Immediately the temple was rebuilt and inaugurated in 1621 with the celebration of numerous festive and religious acts and the grace of a solemn jubilee, but a new fire destroyed everything in 1622 saving only the carving of the Virgin from the flames. Once again, with the important collaboration of the faithful and the authorities, the Shrine was erected again. The political uprisings and wars of the 19th century together with a new fire in 1834, ravaged the place, and the community of Franciscans had to leave to return years later, 1878, when the buildings were rebuilt and a new church was blessed in 1846. Since then, important improvements, reforms and enlargements have taken place in the surroundings and in the Sanctuary and convent itself. The current basilica dates from the middle of the 20th century and was consecrated coinciding with the celebration of the fifth centenary of the apparition of the Virgin.

The Altar of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu

What to see in the Sanctuary of Arantzazu?

 

A beautiful mountain road, immersed in a spectacular landscape, is the prelude to the emblematic place where the Sanctuary of Arantzazu is located. The image of Andra Mari, which is a small stone carving on a trunk of hawthorn with a cowbell next to it and which has a face that describes it as that of a "healthy village woman with a wide neck" awaits visitors, devout pilgrims, hikers and mountaineers who come daily to the Sanctuary in the magnificent altarpiece in the apse of its basilica. Impressive iron doors, the work of sculptor Eduardo Chillida, give access to the temple and shine on a main façade in which its three towers stand out, two framing it and the bell tower, higher and a little further away, whose diamond-pointed decoration is an allegory to the thorn where the Virgin appeared. On one side of the steps leading to the entrance to the temple is the access to the crypt, the only vestige of the 19th century temple. Already in the street you can see some porches that run along the side of the church and the apse that, over the cliff, shows the remains of the previous construction.

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu

To discover

 

Between the Gandiaga Topagunea cultural centre, which hosts both public and private events, meetings, meetings, congresses, seminars... and the Sanctuary, there is a small building dedicated to meditation, which is known as Misterio, the name given to it by the sculpture at its entrance, so called, and which is the work of Jorge Oteiza. In it a Franciscan from Arantzazu offers the people the Virgin Mary and Jesus child. The Sanctuary of Arantzazu, a Marian place of great spirituality that houses the patron saint of Guipúzcoa, is a real museum in which to admire current Basque art, where architects, sculptors, painters... have captured and vivified their art. The location of the Arantzazu Sanctuary also makes it the chosen starting point for hikers and mountaineers who, after visiting the Interpretation Centre of the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, Arantzazuko Parketxea, which is located in one of its buildings, walk along the hiking trails that the park offers, climb its peaks or enter the Tunnel of San Adrian, where a hermitage of the same name and a medieval road awaits them, or in the Caves of Arrikrutz, with galleries adorned with giant stalactites.

Crypt of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu

Festivities

 

The festivity of the Virgin of Arantzazu, patron saint of Guipúzcoa, is celebrated on 9 September.

 

Traditions

 

The numerous pilgrimages that come from around the Basque territory from May to October to the Sanctuary of Arantzazu are traditional.

 

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Curiosities

 

One of the facilities of the Arantzazu Sanctuary is the headquarters of the Interpretation Centre of the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, which, located between the provinces of Alava and Gipuzkoa, has immense beech forests between its limestone mountain ranges. Within its peaks is the Aitxuri, 1,551 m, the highest peak in the Basque Country.

Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park Interpretation Centre

Useful information for visiting the Sanctuary of Arantzazu

 

  • The visit to the basilica and crypt of the Sanctuary of Arantzazu is free.
  • Both are open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • The tourist information and interpretation centre of Debagoiena is located next to the car park and the shop, where you can arrange for guided tours of the Sanctuary.
  • Your schedule is:
  • Easter and from 1 June to 30 September every morning from 10 am to 2 pm and evenings from 3 pm to 6 pm.
  • Weekends of the rest of the year, long weekends and public holidays in the mornings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • For guided tours and further information it is necessary to contact previously with the telephone numbers 943 796 463 and 943 718 911.

 

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The Legend

 

Legend has it that it was 1.469 when a little shepherd from the area called Rodrigo de Balzategui, who was guarding the flock he cared for on the slopes of Mount Aloña, heard the sound of a cowbell and thinking that some of his animals had been lost, and went to look for it. Walking, walking, the sound was heard closer and closer. He seemed to come from a thorn bush and when he arrived at the place he was very surprised when he saw that on top of a white thorn there was an image of the Virgin who sweetly said to him, "My son, go to your father, carpenter, and tell him on my part to build in this place a hermitage with the name Arantzazu". In addition the area was going through a disaster of great drought and the people of the town towards prayers to solve the crucial problem, then the Virgin said to him "and go to the town and speak with the people so that they come up to Me in procession and it will begin to rain". And so it happened when they descended, with great devotion, the image to the village.

 

 

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Get to Oñati

 

Oñati is reached by the GI-2630 road, which connects it with Legazpi and the AP-1. It also has a bus service that connects it with Mondragón, Legazpi, Bilbao, Arrasate, Bergara and Durango, as well as with the different localities along the routes.

 

Once there

 

From Oñati a winding road leads to the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, where you can park your vehicle in spacious car parks. There is also a bus service that connects the Sanctuary of Arantzazu with Oñati at different times.

 

Enter your place of departure​

 

 


SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described, as well as for the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to

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List of Routes
  • Closeness
  • First name
  • Difficulty
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Assessment
MOUNTAIN PATHS CULTURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Medium

3:00 h.7.8 km.

Mount Aratz by the San Adrián Tunnel
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and unevenness, not even over great distances or unevenness.
FLORA AND FAUNA IN FAMILY
1
Difficulty-Medium

3:40 h.12.8 km.

Circular route to the Ullíbarri-Gamboa reservoir
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and slope, not exceeding even great distances or slopes.
PATHS IN FAMILY
1
Difficulty-Medium

2:10 h.7 km.

Reservoir of Lareo from Lizarrusti
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and slope, not exceeding even great distances or slopes.
MOUNTAIN
1
Difficulty-Moderate

4:10 h.8.9 km.

Txindoki from Larraitz
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding routes, either because they are longer, more steep or have a specific difficulty.
FLORA AND FAUNA PATHS NATURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Low

0:35 h.2.4 km.

Georoute of Sakoneta
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little unevenness and without difficulties.
NATURAL HERITAGE
0
Difficulty-Low

0:40 h.2.2 km.

Georoute of Elorriaga
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little unevenness and without difficulties.
IN FAMILY CULTURAL HERITAGE NATURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Low

1:10 h.3.6 km.

Georoute of Algorri
Difficulty-LowCategoría de dificultad verde, nivel 2. Paseos cortos, con poco desnivel y sin dificultades.
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