Throughout the 10th and 11th centuries
the monastery of Urdazubi/Urdax
was built on this site of green meadows and clear waters. The monks worked on the construction of channels and bridges (hence its name ur eta zubi
which means 'water and bridge' in Basque) and a mill, where they worked iron and milled grain.
However, the monastery's splendour did not last for ever due to its proximity to the French border. It suffered many sackings and fires. On the first floor, above the cloister, the museum of San Salvador
throws light on the building. The exhibition covers from the origins of the monastery to its function as a pilgrims' hospital and its modern role as a museum. Audiovisuals and panels show the history of Urdazubi/Urdax, information on the Way of St. James through the Baztan valley
and the monastic past of the Premonstratensian monks.
Visitors can also see the mill in operation
. It has been conserved in perfect condition since it was reconstructed in the 18th century. It did not begin to provide a service to the local community until the 18th century, when the miller received a"saskito"
(a dry measure equivalent to around 4.5 litres) as payment for his work. The water, as in the past, drives the great millstones "muelas"
which, moving precisely in each turn, produce corn and wheat flour. The visit also includes the cloister of the Romanesque Monastery
of San Salvador and the old electric power station, now in disuse, which provided electricity for Urdazubi/Urdax and the nearby village of Ainhoa from 1901 onwards.
Take advantage to visit this charming village by following the channel that crosses it. Elegant noble houses stand on either side. Another must is a visit to the cave of Ikaburu
in the neighbourhood of Leorlas, where the presence of silex in the beautifully formed rocks remind us that the caves had been inhabited by human beings for thousands of years.