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Elizmendi Hermitage

The Elizmendi Hermitage is built next to the village of Kontrasta, pertaining to the Valley of Arana Town Council, in the Montaña Alavesa region. Kontrasta eventually had up to seven hermitages in the 16th century, however, only this curious temple built partially with tombstones from a Roman necropolis survives today.

Some attribute the survival of this small church to the combination of its strategic positioning and the belief that the earth radiates energy from a certain point in the nearby field.

Elizmendi was a Romanesque temple but the current building is predominantly post-medieval. It has a rectangular floor plan, semicircular apse, and the sacristy protruding from the left arm of the front section. The nave is covered by a gable roof whereas the chancel has a domed roof with an undecorated triumphal arch.

The chancel still conserves the Romanesque style of the original building, constructed with Roman tombstones. The apse is finished with ten coarsely crafted corbels that are adorned with the motifs of the aforementioned tombstones.

The hermitage is accessed from the south facing area. At the entrance there is a tombstone and another in the lintel for the door. The chancel is done in ashlar whereas the rest of the walls are rubble masonry set in mortar. To the south of the hermitage there are remains of Christian tombs dating from the Middle Ages.

As for the interior, most notably is the main 16th century baroque altarpiece that shows the image of a Madonna. The side altarpieces show the images of San Juan and San Adrian.

Further information

Elizmendi Hermitage is located in the village of Kontrasta, in the Montaña Alavesa region. It is quite far from the centre of the village, to the south, on a hill.

Kontrasta is 45 kilometres from Vitoria-Gasteiz via the A-1 as far as Salvatierra, then take the A-2128.