|Fall landscapes in rural Rioja|
|Vaulted cloisters in Yuso|
Mike told me that nearly all of the adult students he teaches at the language school insisted he visit the monasteries, so we took their advice and ventured out into the cold with a few other language assistant friends in Logroño.
Suso MonasterySan Millán’s story begins with, well, San Millán himself: St. Emilian of Cogolla, a monk who lived as hermit out here in the hills of Rioja in the 500s. After his death, his disciples started a small monastic community where the Suso Monastery is today, and this site slowly evolved over the centuries from its original Visigothic structure into the Mozarabic and Romanesque building we see today. I loved the eerie link to the past that the horseshoe-shaped arches gave as they cast shadows on the thousand-year-old floor and framed the coffins of a dozen or so monks.
|Approaching the church|
The original codex or book was put together in the 9th or 10th centuries, but a hundred years later a scribe evidently felt the need to clarify certain words for future readers. Fortunately for us, he did so in Very Very Old Spanish, which gives us a fascinating peek into the Romance language dialects that would have been spoken in the area a millennium ago. When these glosses were discovered, they were considered to be the oldest written witness to the Spanish language.
|Inside the church|
It really is incredible that this tiny monastery in rural Rioja played such a formative role in the history of the Spanish language!
|Alabaster column capitals|