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The Independent Guide to Wineries and Wine Tourism in the Rioja Wine Region

24 de febrero de 2020

Chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Arcos, Tricio


Churches and monasteries

Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Arcos (Tricio)
  • Viticulture Sub-zones: Rioja Alta
  • Municipality: Tricio
  • Province: La Rioja

Chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Arcos, Tricio

Location: next to the cemetery of Tricio, 3.5 kilometers far from Najera, 26 km from Logroño and 22 km from Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

From the outside, this chapel, which can be considered one of the most important and unique religious monuments in La Rioja, goes completely unnoticed. A simple rectangular masonry building of uncertain age, with a gabled roof and plaster walls, similar to many other rural chapels of Spain.

So the surprise is great when accessing the interior you discover a motley overlap of architectural and decorative elements from different periods and styles, including a series of arches supported by fragments of Roman columns.

The truth is we are facing one of the oldest active churches in Spain. The village of Tricio once was a Roman city with an important ceramics industry, Tritium Magallum. It is believed that the current chapel was an early Christian shrine built over an ancient mausoleum, probably in the fifth century, using remains of columns of a large Roman temple of the first or second century. A peculiar evidence of the transition from paganism to Christianity.

These venerable Roman remains coexist with baroque plasterwork covering the apse of the church, whose walls also preserve some Romanesque paintings from the 12th century. For their part, these paintings were painted over older frescos.

Moreover, the entire basement of the chapel is a necropolis which includes Roman and medieval stone tombs, indicating that the place has been used as a cemetery from antiquity to the present day.

The Chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Arcos was declared a national monument in 1978.

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