Shrine of Arantzazu in Gipuzkoa, the Basque Country

Land of Saint Ignatius: EDEN Award 2017

Basque Country

Various regions of Gipuzkoa (in the Basque Country) have come together in this project to organise cultural activities linked to the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a pilgrim who became the founder of the Society of Jesus. Sign up for any of these experiences to follow in the saint's footsteps, learn about the area's extensive cultural heritage, travel to medieval times and explore the beautiful natural settings of Urola Erdia, Urola Garaia and Debagoiena, against a rural atmosphere full of charm.In fact, this project was the winner of the 2017 EDEN Awards (European Destination of Excellence) for being an emerging destination and for its commitment to cultural sustainability.

Route of the Three Temples

One of the most interesting initiatives available is to walk the 45 kilometres of the GR-286 path that connects three impressive monuments: the Shrine of Loyola (in Azpeita), the Hermitage of Antigua (in Zumárraga) and the Shrine of Arantzazu (in Oñati). You will find magical beech forests or a centuries-old forge and you will be able to learn about mythological gods. These three temples are also associated with the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. 

Shrine of Loyola of Azpeitia in Gipuzkoa, the Basque Country

Ignatian Trail

The Route of the Three Temples is just the beginning of a broader route that goes from Loyola to Manresa (in Catalonia), following the saint's pilgrimage before arriving in Jerusalem.Before reaching Catalonia, this spiritual route has several stages that run through areas of the interior and north of Spain in La Rioja, Navarre and Aragon. If you are interested, see this link for all the information about the Ignatian Trail and the various travel options:

 Montserrat monastery near Manresa in Barcelona, Catalonia

Cultural initiatives of all kinds

In addition to these two main paths, the project Land of Saint Ignatius proposes other routes such as "Art within the Church" where you will discover precious altarpieces from the 16th century. Other examples? The routes "Between Tower-Houses and Palaces", "Virgins" and "Lifestyle of the XVI century". The latter will take you to see the Igartubeiti farmhouse in Ezkio-Itsaso (a reference for 16th and 17th century wooden architecture), the 16th-century raised granary in Agarre, the Mirandaola ironworks, the Ekomuseo del Pastoreo in Legazpi and the Salt Museum near the Shrine of Dorleta.

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