Monday, May 4, 2015

Najera (Between cliffs)

Najerra is a town of 8, 500 inhabitants that lies of the Camino Frances between Lograno and Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The name of the town has Arabic roots that translate to "between cliffs." A significant point within this town's history was the reasoning behind the construction of the Monasterio de Santa Maria.
In 1044 Garcia the third, who was the Navarran king of the region, was hunting in an area near the western end of the town. When his falcon went after a white dove in one of the caves, the king followed in pursuit. While he was searching for his falcon in the cave, he saw a light. He went to the source and found an old wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary and at it's base was a vase full of white lilies. This was significant because this King was a large fighter against the surge of Islam in the area during this time. He took it as a sign from God and immediately constructed a chapel at the location of his sighting and later turned it into a church and monastery. This monastery continues to serve as a landmark, and because of this landmark, Najerra is frequented by pilgrims to this day.
It was a beautiful morning when we visited this city. The first thing we did was attempt to visit the church. Unfortunately, the church is closed on Mondays. However, we were able to walk around and appreciate the beauty of the caves and the architecture of the city. There were also many official pilgrims within this town, as it is a point on the Camino. We saw most of them sitting around us while we were having lunch before the drive to Burgos.  It was interesting to see all the different people that  choose to walk this journey. There were variations in ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds and languages used by these people. However, the thing that bound them all was the journey they were taking.

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