Monday, December 14, 2020

The Hermitage of San Bartolomé

In the mountains of north-central Spain, in the valley of the Rio del Lobos, is a medieval building. Right there ends everything I am certain of, because I cannot find out anything about it from the usual sources. Instead there is a vast amount of fluff from Templar-obsessed people who inhabit the scholarly fringe, not sane or rigorous enough to give me confidence in their assertions but with enough to say that they drew me in. See especially this little BBC documentary.

They call this building the Hermitage of San Bartolomé and say that it was built in the later 12th century when the Knights Templar owned much land throughout this district.

The site is spectacular, against the mountains at the head of a narrow valley. 

And behind the hermitage is this cave, inhabited in the Stone Age, and said to have been the site of cult activity in the Roman times: 
Situated equidistantly from the Iberian Peninsula’s easternmost and westernmost points in a remote corner of the Rio del Lobos Canyon, the site has long held significance to local inhabitants and was carefully chosen by the Knights Templars for its spiritual properties. In a nearby limestone cave, Ancient Romans celebrated Mundus Patet (the “festival of the dead”) and prayed to the Cult of the Mother Goddess. Legend has it that in the 1st Century AD, this was also where Bartholomew the Apostle (San Bartolomé) dropped his sword from atop a nearby mountain, declaring wherever the weapon fell to be his home.
Whoever built it, the hermitage is a remarkable building.

On the floor near the statue of the Virgin is this mark, known as the Flower of Life.

And just as you would expect in such a story about such a building, the sun shining rough the little window with its five-pointed star traces out the year across the floor

falling, on the Winter Solstice, directly on the Flower of Life. 

Is it true? I have no idea! But it certainly is fascinating, and on rainy December days like today that is enough for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its Canyon of Rio Lobos...Cañon del Rio Lobos