Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Where the hen sang after being roasted

Santo Domingo de la Calzada is one of the main points of the Santiago Way. In fact, the city was founded by the saint whose name gives the intention to help the pilgrims on the pilgrimage route.

Plan your trip to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

At this resting point on Santiago Way you should focus on the cathedral and wander through the numerous temples. This can take up half a day. You can finish off in three fascinating destinations Monumental nearby: Najera, San Millan and Ezcaray; these can also be seen in half a day- a half-day well spent! Active tourists will find numerous options in neighboring Ezcaray, covering the Parque de las sierras de la Demanda y de Urbión

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Domingo Garcia (1019 – 1109), later known as Santo Domingo, was a young bourgeois educated at the monastery of Valvanera. He tried to be admitted to the Benedictine convent of San Millan de la Cogolla. When he was rejected, he became the assistant to St. Gregory of Ostia, who ordered him became a priest. After his master died, he decided to retire to live as a hermit in a forest and for seventy years devoted himself to helping the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. He held this task until his death in 1109. By the year 1044 Domingo Garcia built a bridge, a road, a shelter and a church were the nucleus around which would gradually taking shape the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada . Over the years, a large community of artisans and merchants would be settled in the streets, attracted by the constant movement of pilgrims.

One of the biggest attractions of this must-stop on the road are the numerous miracles attributed to the saint throughout the years. In front of his tomb, a French gentleman was freed from the devil and a German rosemary cured of a severe eye infection. A pilgrim who was hit by a car while he dozed on the bridge was erected by the saint and healed thanks to his intervention. But the most popular one is the miracle of the rooster and hen. When they notified the mayor, who was about to eat, a young German pilgrim who was to be hanged had survived thanks to the intervention of the saint. He said this story would be as certain as a rooster and the hen getting up from the table and starting to sing. To the astonishment of all, both animals did!

Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Convent of San Francisco

In the middle of the thirteenth century, the place became directly dependent on the king and not the abbot, as he had done before. In 1334, the Castilian King Alfonso XI granted the rank of city. He lived at that time a great heyday, which lasted well into the sixteenth century, when the pilgrimage route began to experience some decline.

Today, Santo Domingo de la Calzada is an important service center in the region.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada rises at the foot of the Sierra de la Demanda and the mountain of Yuso, along the river Oja. Preserved medieval layout a beautiful historic town, which was declared a Historic-Artistic in 1973.

The main patrimonial attraction of the city is the Cathedral, seat of the diocese of Calahorra-La Calzada, located in Plaza del Santo. The church was begun in 1158 on the shrine erected to house the remains of Santo Domingo. The first cathedral was Late Romanesque style, according to the design of Master Garcion, but further reforms during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries gave it its current Gothic and Renaissance appearance. The building has three naves with a transept, ambulatory, clerestory and vaults. Later, in the eighteenth century, the main facade was topped and the free baroque tower built. Inside stands the altarpiece (1537-1540), now on the side of the temple, a work of Damián Forment and dedicated to the Saviour and the Virgin in the mystery of the Assumption. Also in the Cathedral Museum are pieces brought to the saint by famous pilgrims or created to enhance the grandeur of the cathedral.

The cathedral complex stands out, especially the Mausoleo of Santo Domingo. According to tradition, it was Sunday himself who prepared his grave in the road that he had drawn, outside of the disappeared early church (now integrated into the south transept of the new building). The mausoleo is the result of three interventions. The first is the first quarter of the thirteenth century, and it corresponds to the Romanesque tombstone, with a recumbent figure of the saint in high relief two meters, surrounded by six angels. The second, in the first half of the fifteenth century Gothic style, corresponds to the alabaster table on which sits the tombstone, with the shield of Bishop Diego Lopez de Zúñiga and collecting different episodes of the saint’s life. The set is covered with a alabaster canopy, hired in 1513 by Felipe Vigarny. The design and construction was executed by Juan de Rasines. Under the space in 1958 a crypt that houses the relics was built. In front of the mausoleum is a Gothic polychrome stone Roost (s. XV), in memory of the famous miracle, always blanket a rooster and a hen.

In the square of the Holy Shrine of Our Lady of La Plaza (Ermita de Nuestra Señora de La Plaza) is located in the place where, according to tradition, was built the humble chapel erected by Santo Domingo. The present church is nevertheless the result of several reforms between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries.

Opposite the cathedral the Hospital de Peregrinos, built in the twelfth century by the saint by a miracle that allowed him to cut all the wood he needed with his sickle stands. Today it has been converted into a Parador de Turismo.

After the bishopric la Plaza de España, and one of its sides, is the Town Hall, built on the medieval wall. This is a two arcaded baroque heights of projecting its richly ornamented central body building.

The walled city of Santo Domingo de la Calzada is the most important of La Rioja. The ancient walls, you lift commanded by Pedro I the Cruel in the fourteenth century, still parts of the 1670 meters, 38 towers and up to 7 doors with Gothic arches giving access to the old town in different parts of it are preserved. The wall, which they are trying to recover, has a path on which you can take a pleasant walk along the heights of the villa.

The oldest civil building in the city is the House of Trastámara, on Main Street. It is a Gothic building where he lived and died Enrique II of Castile. Historic-Artistic Monument in 1983, now houses the Library and Office of Information and Tourism. On this road stands the House of the Brotherhood of the Holy, a Renaissance building of the sixteenth century enlarged in the eighteenth century. This building houses since 1968 of the Brotherhood of the Holy, the oldest Jacobean brotherhood, founded by Santo Domingo in the 11th century.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Also on Main Street is one of the most important monasteries of the villa, the Cistercian of Our Lady of the Annunciation. Built under the impulse of the bishop of the diocese of Calahorra-La Calzada, Peter Manso de Zuniga, it was completed in 1620. Another monastery of interest is the Convent of San Francisco, which was commissioned in the early seventeenth century by the Archbishop of Zaragoza Fray Bernardo de Fresneda, who was also confessor of the kings Carlos V and Felipe II. It is Herrera style and currently has partially re-used as a parador.

Before ending the tour of Santo Domingo de la Calzada you should approach the Oja River, which can still be crossed via the Bridge of Santo Domingo, the same as the holy rise up in the early eleventh century.


Practical data


42° 26′ 31″ N, 2° 57′ 9″ W


Logroño 46 km, Burgos 69 km, Madrid 336 km


641 m


6614 (2013)

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