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Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés

Churches and chapels


Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés


A rugged, precipitous and dizzying spot shelters the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés. The buildings, of monumental appearance and harmonious structure, plunge us into their historical past. During the War of Independence the sanctuary was sacked by the French army and served as a garrison for both Napoleon's soldiers and for those of Espoz y Mina, the most famous of Navarre's military commanders. Today, at the foot of the Sierra, it offers a refuge for visitors in its hostelry and the gift of a setting marked out by the unhurried flight of eagles.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Codés stands in the shelter of the Sierra of Codés, the most westerly mountainous massif of Navarre, on the border with Álava. It belongs to the municipality of Torralba del Río, but the complex is set apart on the outskirts of the town. Leaving the town and taking the road on the right-hand side, you come to a rugged landscape, dominated by Mount Yoar at an altitude of 1,421 metres, dotted with gall oaks, maples, boxwood and juniper, amongst other plant species. According to tradition, a primitive chapel was erected at the foot of the mountain next to the cave where an image of the Virgin Mary with Child was discovered in 1350.

The present sanctuary was built between the 16th and 18th centuries on top of the former building, of which no vestiges remain. Its monumental appearance reveals a harmonious whole with a simple structure made up of the church, the majestic Baroque tower, a severe triple-arched portico, the palace of Lepe and the hostelry.

The tower and the adjacent doorway are the most interesting features in terms of artistic merit. Despite the fact that they were built in the 18th century, their sobriety reminds us of the architectural and decorative models of the 17th century. Next to the door is the Font of the Virgin, a huge stone niche for housing the image of Our Lady of Codés.

The interior of the church, dating from the sixteenth century, features a Baroque grille that encloses the high altar, presided over by a Gothic image from the 14th century of the Virgin of Codés and Child. The grille dates from 1651 and is decorated with balustrades and a huge wheel topped with a cross. It separates the area where liturgical ceremonies are held from the rest of the church, which is dedicated to the faithful. The side altarpieces contribute to making the high chapel even more spectacular. They are dedicated to St. Peter and St. Anthony and evoke a Mannerist style.

The Codés complex is rounded off by the hostelry, built in 1614, which offers accommodation and a canteen service, and the Palace of the Bishop of Calahorra, Pedro de Lepe, built in 1692, although some additional works were carried out on the building in 1713.

The sanctuary is the destination of numerous pilgrimages. The most famous of these are the ones held on Pentecost Sunday, i.e. 50 days after Easter, between May and June, and the pilgrimage on 8th September.


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