The shrine of Arantzazu

The shrine of Arantzazu is the most important religious complex in the Basque Country and also the most impressive one. It’s consecrated to the Virgin of Arantzazu, which is the most loved religious figure by the catholics of Gipuzkoa.

The current complex is the fourth that occupies this place, as the shrine has burnt three times in the past (1553,1622 and 1834). Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza and Luis Laorga were the responsibles of designing the new complex in 1951. In the church we can see the iron doors by Eduardo Chillida, as well as the paintings by Nestor Basterretxea and Lucio Muñoz. And of course, the 14 apostles sculpted by the genius Jorge Oteiza.

These suffered the veto of the Sacred Art diocesan commision, so they spent 14 years “sleeping a geological dream” in a ditch. They are considered one of the masterpieces of contemporary Basque art, and drink greedily from the catholic belief system. According to Oteiza, “The Apostles, as slit opened sacred animals, they repeat to us that they emptied because they put their hearts in others. The real identity of christianism is about sacrificing yourself this way”.

Alex de la Iglesia’s Day of the Beast begins in this sanctuary

The shrine is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in all the Historic Territory of Gipuzkoa, including cliffs and forests. It’s, in fact, next to the entrance to the Aizkorri-Aratz Nature Park. Only for this dream surroundings it’s worth visiting the complex.