The Monastery of Leyre

  We're heading slightly off route here - the monastery at Leyre, south of Pamplona, is on a pilgrimage route to Santiago, but not the one we have been following: it joins our route between Pamplona and Estella. It is well worth sidetracking to see it; one of Northern Spain's most interesting monasteries, and still active today.
  The earliest reference to the monastery dates from 842, when it was a Benedictine foundation. Later, it became a Cistercian establishment, but has now reverted to the Benedictines.
  Many of the monastic buildings have been renewed over the years, but much of the 11th century Romanesque still remains; the extrordinary crypt is even earlier. Probably the finest feature is the doorway to the church, the Porta Speciosa, featuring images of two saints whose relics were preserved inside.

The crypt

11th-century church interior

On to Puente la Reina

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