It is located in the westernmost mountain massif in Navarra, in a rugged environment and sheltered by Mount Yoar in the centre and the Two Sisters on the left plus the Concepción on the right, in the Sierra de Codés, on the outskirts of the town of Torralba del Río of which it forms part. Its origin may have been in an old Benedictine monastery between the years 900 and 1008 joined to that of San Jorge de Azuelo, because at that time the place was an anchorite area. The current Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés was built between the 16th and 18th centuries on top of a previous building of which no remains. The sanctuary suffered the looting of French troops during the War of Independence, it also became a barracks for Napoleonic soldiers as well as the famous Navarrese guerrilla Espoz y Mina and later Zumalacárregui's troops.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés has a monumental appearance but a simple structure. The church, from the 16th century, has a beautiful baroque grille that separates the area from the main altar where the altarpiece houses a 14th century Gothic image of the Virgin of Codés with the Child. What attracts the visitor's attention the most is the slender baroque tower and the triple arcade portico built in the 18th century. A semicircular staircase with sixteen steps leads to the door of the basilica. Next to the portico is the Fountain of the Virgin, just below the arcade. Crowning the fountain, in a niche, as if blessing the water, is the image of the Virgin of Codés. The inn that was built in 1614 and the palace of the Bishop of Calahorra, Pedro de Lepe that was built in 1692 but was restored in the eighteenth century..
Walking through this beautiful place where the sound of the water from its sources such as the Bishop's, known by this name for the similarity of the wall with the bishop's mitre, the Hermit's, the Eyes, the Osés fountain or the Cascade compete in musicality with the chirping of birds while the eagles fly through the sky with a slow and majestic flight, is a recommended exercise for the body and mind.
The sanctuary is the destination of numerous pilgrimages. When the month of April arrives, the pilgrimages to Codés begin. Every Sunday a village approaches the feet of the Virgin of Codés, the pilgrims go in procession from the road to the door of the basilica where they are received by the procession of the brotherhood. The most famous pilgrimages are those held on Pentecost Sunday, that is, 50 days after Easter, between May and June; and on 8 September.
In the times of Sancho VII el Fuerte, back in the year 1219 the town of Codés, which was prior to the sanctuary and had a hermitage dedicated to San Miguel, together with Bañano, Yeta and Cabañas took refuge in the walled town of Torralba.
Legend has it that when in 575 King Leovigildo destroyed the city of Cantabria, today Logroño, the persecuted devout Christians hid the image of the Virgin from their church in these forests of the Codés mountains. This image was found in a cave between bushes and thorns by a shepherd seven centuries later. The first hermitage of the Virgin of Codés was built in the same place. Legend has it that the fervor towards the Virgin grew with the knowledge of her miraculous deeds, such as that of the traveller who was robbed by the outlaws who walked around the area, who also took him prisoner to his refuge where they chained him and outraged him. The man prayed to the Virgin of Codés to intercede for him and one morning without knowing how he woke up, free of his captors, at the doors of the hermitage.
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To get to Torralba del Río we can do it by following the NA-7200 from Torres del Río, in the old national road that joins Logroño with Pamplona.Torres del Río has an access that leads to it from the A-12 motorway. Also from Aguilar de Codés, where the roads from Viana and Santa Cruz de Campezo reach, we can reach Torralba del Río. It is on this NA-7200 road where you will find the detour that leads to the town.
To get to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés we just have to follow the detour we took to approach Torralba del Río, crossing the town and continue ascending until we come across the sanctuary where we have several areas where we can park our vehicle. The same road that reaches the sanctuary but in the opposite direction connects it with the NA-129 between Los Arcos and Acedo.
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