Thursday, 11 May 2017 16:30

Immerse yourself in the colours of the Ignatian Way (I)

azkoitia san martin baseliza

The journey to my interior lived in Loyola has left me exhausted, but wanting to know more. Many times, I thought that to know your interior you should know your exterior, and I believe that. St. Ignatius did so, not in vain he reaches Manresa on foot. It is said that to know what surrounds you, you should go outside. Normally that idea we usually associate with travel, but to know your inner, should we also know what surrounds you? Along with that question I have entered wanting to know the towns and roads that had around him. Azkoitia and Azpeitia or "Haitz goitia" (above the stone) and "Haitz Beitia" (under the stone), and in the middle of it all, Loyola. Could it be that the Holy House of Ignatius of Loyola is that stone? Who knows.

As I left the Hotel Arrupe, I had to decide whether to go up or go down and as I am better off going down, I preferred to climb first to go down afterwards. Oihana and Maixa, in the information office of Loyola, gave me the telephone of the historian and guide Juan Bautista Mendizabal, the best person to know "The Ignatian enclaves in Azkoitia." Thus, apart from the importance of the family of San Ignacio, and other anecdotes of this town. And is that Juan Bautista is not a person, since, in addition to being the president of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country, he takes great care of the Insausti Palace, now the headquarters of the "Caballeritos".

azcoitia palacio inchausti


It is not good for me to think, or to listen to with empty guts, and as I have reached Azkoitia, I have entered the Presalde bakery. Pasta, buns, pastries ... my eyes made me shrimp. I could not resist and along with the coffee with milk, I got a "mille-feuille" between the chest and back, highly recommended. I have also seen that a woman bought Azkoitia's famous "macaroons" and of course, I left the store with a full box.

casa balda azcoitia san ignacio de loyola

balda etxea azkoiti


ermita balda etxea azkoiti

I have called Juan Bautista and we have remained at the Insausti Palace. I have been able to know thanks to Juan Bautista another fragment of our history with this illustrious personage, his devotion to count the adventures of the "Caballeritos" has been impressive, normal being he also one of them. But knowing that what he was looking for was something that had more relation with the founder of the Jesuits, he took me along a path that has brought us closer to the old part, until arriving at the Tower House of the Balda. Note if the building is older than the town itself. There lived Marina Saez de Licona and Balda, the mother of Ignacio de Loyola. In a previous chapter, I told you that, on the paternal side, St. Ignatius belonged to an important lineage of the Oñacino side. On the part of the mother, it belongs to a family that turned away from the Ganboinian. Therefore, everything indicates that in this history so divided ours is something that unites us and that is Ignacio de Loyola. Anyway, now I begin to understand where this pique can come that are healthy between the azpeitiarras and azkoitiarras: the place of origin of the founder of the Company of Jesus. Some are from Azpeitia, others that in those days the child was born in the mother's house and should be from Azkoitia ... well, what is clear is that it has origins of the two peoples. In this tower house was built a chapel in honour of San Ignacio, but unfortunately today it is privately owned and cannot be visited, but if you can see the interior from the chapel gate.



azcoitia plaza balda

I spent the time flying, sitting in Plaza Balda in front of the sculpture of Oteiza. I feel like a character in the fifteenth century while Juanba tells me stories of the buildings around us. But my stomach has returned to give signs of life and brought me back to reality. Entering Calle Mayor is easy to see the parish, but Juanba has invited me to eat something in any of the bars of this cobbled street. Under the branch of a bar called Ttakun, we have enjoyed a good meal.






azkoiti plaza berri


 After the coffee, we went up the street, a palace has left me hallucinating. It attracts attention to its walls. Intensive black walls by which it becomes known as Black House or "Etxe Beltz". But it is the Tower House of Idiáquez, built under the protection of the old medieval wall, is a site with much history. The shields of the Idiáquez, the Olano, and the Loyola can be seen in their façade, therefore, it has a direct connection with San Ignacio and more specifically with his niece Marina Uso de Loyola. Since its descendants, the present owners of the Tower House of Idiaquez, are today the lords of Loyola. Anyway, it is a house with a lot of history, even here the first Carlist suitor was married to the Princess of Beira.


azcoitia parroquia santa maria de la real



Once there, it was also the visitation of the parish. Apparently, this was not the first parish of the town, since the oldest church, that of Santa Maria de Balda was in the land of the Balda, where it conserves its Romanesque cover. In 1510, he was transferred to the centre of the population where he received numerous contributions from the most notable families of the moment. In addition to the internationally known "Cavaille Coll" organ, among the most outstanding works of the building are the altarpieces of the Recalde houses of the Seville school and the altarpiece of the Olano-Idiáquez, the two linked to the family of Loyola. The main altarpiece is designed by the great Jesuit architect, Brother Bautista. Author, among others, of the Imperial College of the Jesuits of Madrid in Toledo Street. Dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, the image of St. Ignatius is very present.


retablo santa maria de la real azcoitiaorgano azcoitia aristide cavaille coll parroquia santa maria de la real azcoitia

 organo santa maria la real cavaille collultimo organo cavaille coll

juan bautista parroquia azcoitia


This visit to Azkoitia I have finished in the Palace Floreaga or Zuazola. What today is the Joseba restaurant was ordered by Pedro Sánchez Zuazolakoa, who was secretary general and treasurer of the Emperor Charles V and raised it in Mudejar style in the seventeenth century. I have also been able to know that the descendants of this illustrious personage joined the Loyola, passing these to be the lords of the tower. With the passage of time, it ended up being the residence of farmers and here was born, for example, the famous pelotari Atano III. But his story may be told in another chapter.

palacio floreaga ioseba jatetxeaI said goodbye to Juanba in the parking lot in front of the palace. I will need time to remember and order in my notebook all the stories he had told me. And, like all good guides, it has been an open book for me. I continue with the recommendations given in the morning by Oihana and Maixa and I have approached the restaurant Abaraxka. If anything, we can boast in this land is his kitchen and the great cook Mikel Uria could not expect anything else. Mikel has his restaurant in an unbeatable place, overlooking Loyola, where you have different menus. As the daylight dims, I have enjoyed in peace and quiet a good glass of wine as I recalled all the places I have met in Azkoitia. Tomorrow, in Azpeitia, Pako and Miren are waiting for me, two more people with whom I will be able to know in detail the life of St. Ignatius.



iaki sare azkoitin


Many thanks once more to Oihana and Maixa from the Urola tourist office, thanks to your advice everything has been much easier.

And above all to Juan Bautista for the patience, he has shown me. If you need a guide in Azkoitia, do not hesitate, go to him. Here I give his contact information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at the following telephone number 606 175 356 or 616 924 561.



Iñaki Sare.



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