The Quejana Complex of Historical Monuments is located 11 kilometres from Artziniega, in the municipality of Ayala, and was home to one of the most brilliant characters of the Middle Ages in Alava and Euskadi, Pedro Lopez de Ayala. He was a poet, chronicler of four kings, diplomat, warrior and royal counsellor, as well as being a pioneer of the Renaissance.
In the second half of the 14th century, his father, Fernán Pérez de Ayala, was responsible for building this complex in an idyllic setting surrounded by meadows and rolling green hills, consisting of a fortified palace, the convent of the Dominican Mothers, the church of San Juan Bautista and the Virgen del Cabello chapel tower.
In 2002 it was declared a Listed Cultural Asset due to its historic and artistic value and, in fact, it is considered to be one of the best designed and preserved examples of nobility constructed civil heritage.
Worth seeing is the ground floor of the Chapel Tower where the carved alabaster tombs of the Lord and Lady of Ayala stand, plus a reproduction of the 14th century Gothic altarpiece, the original of which is at the Art Institute of Chicago (United States). Along the side walls there are two niches with pointed arches where the recumbent statues of Fernán Pérez and Elvira de Ceballos, parents of the Chancellor, lie.
The main body of Pedro López de Ayala’ s artistic endeavours is concentrated in the chapel of Nuestra Senora del Cabello.
The Museum of Sacred Art, another of the attractions, shows the eventful history of the Lords of Ayala and the nuns of the Convent of the Dominican Mothers by means of pertinent images, paintings, ornaments, gold work and various works of art protected behind the heavy walls of these buildings for more than 600 years.
Finally, the church of San Juan Bautista features a magnificent baroque altarpiece, with Solomonic columns and depictions of saints in relief, and hidden beneath the choir, in two niches, two funerary statues of Fernán Pérez and María Sarmiento, son and daughter-in-law of the Chancellor.
A visit to this place will provide an insight and general idea of how this great man and his family lived, his vast knowledge and his way of thinking.
Free guided tours can be arranged by phoning 945 399 264.
The office is closed on 25th December, 1st and 6th January.
The Quejana Complex of Historical Monuments is in Quejana, part of the municipality of Ayala in the region of the same name, some 40 and 30 kilometres from Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bilbao, respectively. From Vitoria-Gasteiz take the N-622 and the A-624, while from Bilbao the best route is via the AP-68 and the A-625.