Stage 9: Nájera – Santo Domingo de la Calzada Distance: 21km
Leave Nájera through the Plaza de Navarre past the Eglesia de Santa María Real and then past the frontón. Continue into the zona natural on the red dirt tracks.
After a few kilometres you’ll reach a high point where you will be able to see the village of Azofra. Continue on the way marked track into Azofra.
Azofra was the site of several pilgrim hospitals in mediaeval times and now has a population of around 300 people.
You’ll find the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles here which has a carved statue Santiago Peregrino inside.
On the outskirts of the village you’ll also find a park dedicated to Virgen de Valbanera, the patroness of La Rioja.
Across from this you can see what remains of the Fuente de los Romeros, a mediaeval pilgrim fountain.
In the village itself there a few shops and bars.
Leave Azofra though the village park passing the shrine to the Virgen de Valbanera and the fountain. Take a left onto a track passing a medaeival road sign, rollo, marking the border between Azofra & Alescanco.
From here follow the yellow arrow way markers through fields then climbing up to the Rioja Alta Golf Club. Continue on into the village of Cirueña.
Continue through Cirueña on the main route on farm tracks until you reach the outskirts of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
The track passes some factories before joining the main road. Follow this road to the crossing into the old town walking down the Calle Mayor which takes you to the albergue and the cathedral.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Santo Domingo de la Calzada’s mediaeval streets were declared a National Historic Interest Site and are home to some grand buildings and plazas, particularly its walls, the Catedral Santo Domingo de la Calzada and the old Pilgrims’ Hospital.
Santo Domingo founded the town in 1044 to help the pilgrims who travelled to Santiago de Compostela. It was here that he built a bridge, a shelter, a hospital and a hermitage, the origin of the town and city (a title awarded by Alfonso XI in 1334).
The cathedral is located in the central Plaza del Santo, was built in 1158 in the Gothic style, although it has elements of Romanesque origin, such as its main front and apse, and others which are Baroque or Renaissance in style, such as the slim free-standing bell tower.
You can climb to the top of the tower where you get gret views of the town and the bell tower.
There is also the chicken coup at the rear of the cathedral which is home to a cock and a hen. This was built to serve as a reminder of a miracle which took place here when a roast cock and a hen were miraculously revived proving the innocence of a young man who had been wrongfully hanged but survived his sentence.
The old pilgrims hospital next to the cathedral, originally built by Santo Domingo has now been converted into an impressive luxury Parador.
Pedro I “The Cruel” built the walls which fortify its medieval layout.
The houses on the Calle Mayor, the City Hall and the Convento de San Francisco are also major points of interest. The Casa de Santos, a Pilgrim’s Information Office, is also worth a visit.
The town has a large variety of shops, bars & restaurants which can be found along the Calle Mayor and the Paseo.
Tourist Office, Calle Mayor, 70. Tel: (0034) 941 34 12 30
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