Santuario de Arantzazu

Basque Country

Situated 10km south of Oñati, the Santuario de Arantzazu is a busy Christian pilgrimage site that's a fabulous conflation of piety and avant-garde art. The sanctuary was built in the 1960s on the site where, in 1468, the Virgin appeared to a shepherd in a hawthorn bush. The sanctuary's design is based on this.

The overwhelming impression is one of mystery and abstract artistry, with halls guarded by 14 chiselled apostles and one cloakless Virgin standing over the prone figure of Christ – all comprising one monumental work created by the great Basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza. Descend into the crypt for a look at the powerful murals by Néstor Basterretxea.

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