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The Sanctuary of Loiola

The Sanctuary of Loiola

The Sanctuary of Loiola
One of the most outstanding Basque figures in history is Íñigo de Loyola (Saint Ignatius), founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), now spread all over the world.
One of the most outstanding Basque figures in history is Íñigo de Loyola (Saint Ignatius), founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), now spread all over the world.

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The Sanctuary of Loiola

Here in Loiola you can not only visit his birthplace but also find out about the circumstances of his turbulent life.

You’ll be impressed when you find the sanctuary church in the middle of the Urola valley, in an idyllic setting surrounded by mountains. The sanctuary site, a fine example of baroque architecture, is build on the site of the mediaeval fortified house where Íñigo de Loyola was born in 1491.

The house where he was born, known as the “Casa Natal”, will transport your imagination back to feudal times and the saint’s family, named Oñaz y Loyola, which is documented as far back as the 13th century. Its walls, almost two metres thick and pierced by embrasures, and even ancient bombards (early cannons), will make you feel you are entering a mediaeval fortress, as in fact the building originally was.

In the centre of the sanctuary site stands the Basilica, dating from 1738, with its majestic dome, preceded by a wide portico decorated in the churrigueresque baroque style. Inside, at the high altar you can see the silver statue of Saint Ignatius donated by the Real Compañía Guipuzcoana de Caracas, a shipping company trading with the Americas which was of key importance to the history of the province of Gipuzkoa.

Loiola is one of the most outstanding places in the Basque Country, both from a historical point of view and because of its traditions and also the natural setting in which it stands. Come and feel its spirituality, which you can contemplate as you follow the so-called “Three Temples Route”, also taking in the nearby sanctuary churches of Arantzazu and La Antigua (Zumárraga).