Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla

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San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Monasterio de Suso (2).jpg
San Millán de Suso
LocationSan Millán de la Cogolla, La Rioja, Spain
  1. Yuso Monastery and Monastic Kitchen Gardens
  2. Suso Monastery and Archaeological Sites
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iv), (vi)
Inscription1997 (21st Session)
Area19.01 ha (47.0 acres)
Buffer zone266.24 ha (657.9 acres)
Coordinates42°19′33″N 2°51′54″W / 42.32583°N 2.86500°W / 42.32583; -2.86500Coordinates: 42°19′33″N 2°51′54″W / 42.32583°N 2.86500°W / 42.32583; -2.86500
Official nameMonasterios de Yuso y Suso
TypeReal property
Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla is located in La Rioja, Spain
Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla
Location of Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla in La Rioja, Spain
Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla is located in Spain
Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla
Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla (Spain)

The monasteries of San Millán de Suso (6th century) and San Millán de Yuso (11th century) are two monasteries situated in the village of San Millán de la Cogolla, La Rioja, Spain. They have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since December 1997.[1]

The two monasteries' names Suso and Yuso mean the "upper" and the "lower" in archaic Castilian, respectively. Suso is the older building and is believed to be built on the site of a hermitage where Saint Emilian (Spanish: San Millán) lived. Perhaps Suso's major claim to fame is as the place where phrases in the Spanish and Basque languages were written for the first time.[2] UNESCO acknowledges the property "as the birthplace of the modern written and spoken Spanish language".[1] The phrases in Spanish and Basque are glosses on a Latin text and are known as the Glosas Emilianenses. There is some debate as to whether the Spanish words are written in an early form of Castilian or in a related dialect. In either case, San Millán's importance as a cradle of the Spanish language is reinforced by the proximity of the village of Berceo which is associated with Gonzalo de Berceo, the first Spanish poet known by name.

There is a continuous history of Christianity at San Millán since the time of the saint. The scriptorium produced the second phase of the San Millán Beatus and remained active during the period of Muslim rule; and over the centuries, the religious community has overcome various vicissitudes which affected the monasteries (for example being sacked by the Black Prince). However the type of monastic life evolved: the original monks living at Suso were hermits, but Yuso, the refoundation of the monastery on a lower site, developed as a Benedictine community. As the UNESCO evaluation noted, San Millán shows the transformation from an eremetic to a cenobitic community in material terms.[3]

Suso monastery has been uninhabited since the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal in the nineteenth century. Yuso monastery was also abandoned for some years in the nineteenth century, but was reoccupied. It houses an Augustinian community, but part of the monastery has been converted into a hotel. Today San Millán attracts pilgrims on the Way of St James (even though it lies somewhat off the line of the official route between Nájera and Burgos).[4][5]


  1. ^ a b "San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries". UNESCO. 1997. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  2. ^ The codex in question was subsequently preserved in the monastery library at Yuso before being moved to its current location in Madrid. See Glosas Emilianenses.
  3. ^ Entry on the World Heritage website.
  4. ^ route map
  5. ^ (in Spanish) Cervantes Centre


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