It sits at the foot of the Sierra de La Demanda, on its northern periphery and on the banks of the river Cárdenas. The history of San Millán de la Cogolla begins when a shepherd called Emiliano or Millán retired to a cave, back in the sixth century, to make ascetic life, thus creating a eremitory. The first nucleus of population, of which documents are conserved, dates back to the year 1022, when in the heat of the monastery houses were built where the shepherds were housed.
The village was called San Jorge, which means that the town was born under the protection of the monastery during the reign of Sancho el Mayor. A few years later, another neighbourhood called "Barrionuevo" was built, also with the support of the kings, closer to the monastery and which later became the current San Millán de La Cogolla. Until the 16th century, like the whole valley, it belonged to the jurisdiction of the monastery. Charles V gave it the status of a villa and later its inhabitants bought the right from Philip II to appoint their own leaders.
When the shepherds of the monastery built their houses, they did it in a place where there was a church called San Jorge, then it was the parish church of the town until 1542, in it was the tomb of a disciple of San Millán, Santa Potamia.
Today this hermitage is preserved at the entrance to the village, next to the river Cárdenas and is one of the oldest consecrated churches in La Rioja. But the true monumental group is made up of the Monastery of Suso (from above), which was the first to be built, and the Monastery of Yuso (from below), considered "El Escorial de La Rioja".
The 26th of September La Traslación is celebrated, in commemoration of the transfer of the remains of San Millán. The 12th of November is the feast day of San Millán and the 17th of the same month the feast day of Santa Gertrudis, both patrons of the village.
On Pentecost Sunday, a pilgrimage is made to the Monastery of Valvanera, patron saint of La Rioja, on foot through the mountains. On 15 June there is a pilgrimage in which only men take part, going on foot or on horseback to the Cueva del Santo, where they listen to mass on their knees. This tradition dates back to 1604, when they approached the Cave to ask for the Saint's help in curing a disease suffered by women.
In a document from the year 1199, in which privileges were granted to the monastery of San Millán de La Cogolla, it appears named as "Coculla" or "Cuculla" which means "Cerrillo or top of Monte".
Legend has it that on the site, where the Monastery of Yuso is located today, the oxen that transported the mortal remains of San Millán to Nájera, by order of King García IV of Navarre, stopped and did not want to pass from there.
San Millán de la Cogolla can be reached via the LR-331 from Bobadilla or following the LR-205 from the nearby town of Berceo, where the different access roads converge from the A-12 Camino dual carriageway and the N-120 between Logroño and Burgos, well signposted as "Ruta de los Monasterios" (Route of the Monasteries). We can arrive by the LR-206 from Azofra or Santo Domingo de la Calzada and from Nájera by the LR-113, which joins it with Salas de los Infantes, taking the detour of the LR-205 that will take us to Berceo and then to San Millán de la Cogolla.
It has intercity bus service every day.
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