Alajar – Peña de Arias Montano
Alajar – Peña de Arias Montano
The Peña de Arias Montano is located in the municipality of Alájar, province of Huelva.
La Peña is a place consisting of a huge “batolito” (an eruption rock mass) that shapes a kina of plateau (736m altitude) above the valley. In the bowels of the rock the water has formed a set of hollow covered by stalactites and stalagmites, lakes and rocks with the most varied shapes. Some examples of this are the caves named “ El Palacio Oscuro”, “La Fuente”, “La sillita del Rey” or “El salon de los Machos”. These caves testify the beauty of this subterranean place.
Montano´s figure, theologian and Philip II tutor and honourable member of the court is linked to the Rock to the point to bear his name. He tried to recreate the vision that Peña Flamenco artists had about San Jeronimo withdrawal, a very influential figure in Europe during the 16th century. On the exhibition site there are earlier contemporary and later elements to the erudite time. Thus you can see a cave piercing the stone, where the fountain and a kind of pilaster are placed. Its structure dates from 1771.
After a walkway shaded by trees, a Romanesque arch stands out cut into the same limestone as the rock mountain. This arch functions like and old porch and it’s the entrance to the sanctuary which currently is restored. On the south side of the “plateau”, over the edge the tower and two adjacent small houses, were risen in 1700. They were built by the architect Juan Martin-Carnes. On the small houses flanks the built two masonry pyramids ordered to be built by Arias Montano in 16th century, in memory of Felipe II visit at this place. Nowadays, only one mound together with one of the small houses stand up from the building, with a commemorative plaque that recalls the royal visit. The presence of such evidence through the years emphasizes the profound nature of attraction that has always had Alajar Rock.
Every 8th of Semptember is celebrated the “Reina de los Ángeles” Pilgrimage at la Peña /the rock). The devotion to Reina de los Angeles image extends throughout the region, apart from the province of Huelva, Seville, Badajoz and Portugal. One peculiarity of this pilgrimage is the craft market, where its important to mention the pottery. According to a written report dating from 1807, there were already 150 stalls, from which a hundred came from different parts of the province.
Interpretation Center: Space dedicated to Benito Arias Montano, a famous sixteenth-century humanist Extremadura, formed in Alcala de Henares and Seville. With this center is to go beyond the figure, also picking up the cultural, political, social and economic environment in which Montano lived. Emphasizing the last stage of his life, straddling the library activity in the Monastery of El Escorial, his temporary retirement in this Alajar Pena (Huelva) and his final years in Seville, where he died and is buried. The centre reflects not only his life but also his work as a theologian, linguist.. as a man of his time.