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LA RIOJA
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The "Tablas de San Millán" from the 'Suso' monastery, today in the Museum of La Rioja

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'Suso' monastery

yuso monastery

Royal stairs of the 'Yuso' monastery

 
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ABOUT LA RIOJA

One of the tiniest regions in Spain but surely with an international name due to its extraordinary wines. Its name coms from the river 'Río Oja' that crosses this region. There are several different parts in this region: Rioja alta (high rioja) is humid and mountainy; the 'Rioja baja' (lower rioja) has a mediterranean climate; 'Rioja Alavesa' is the side that neighbours the Basque Country.
Among the touristic routes of the region we suggest the following: the monastery route, the dinosaur route , the wine route and the always attractive possibility of going skiing to Valdezcaray, or following the part of the pilgrim's trail of the 'Camino de Santiago' (the French path) that crosses Logroño, the capital of the region.

LA RIOJA
Writings of Gonzalo de Berceo, the first ever in Spanish

Celebrations: San Mateo, September 20th to 26th.
Monuments: Co-cathedral 'Santa María de La Redonda', church of 'Santiago el Real', Palace of 'Espartero' (today Museum of La Rioja), church of 'San Bartolomé', Fine Arts museum, convent of 'La Merced', convent of 'La Madre de Dios'.

'San Millán de la Cogolla' is part of UNESCO World Heritage since 1997. Small town with the monasteries of Suso and Yuso where Spanish language seems to have its roots. The monasteries have romanic and Arab influence. 'Suso' monastery (centuries 5th to 14th) is placed at the high part of the town and was home to the stone carved graves of the seven princes of Lara as well as the empty grave of San Millán. In this monastery the poet and writer Gonzalo de Berceo wrote the first verses in Spanish ever. 'Yuso' monstery, on the lower side, with a barroque door is also an interesting site.

Food: the food of La Rioja is among the best in the country. It has a very rich and distinctive identity. Very typical are the potatoes with chorizo, 'callos a la riojana' (tripe), 'asadurilla de cordero' (lamb roast), 'pimientos rellenos' (filled peppers), 'caracoles' (snails), 'pochas con codorniz', 'menestra de verdura' (vegetable mix), 'chuletas al sarmiento'. There's not much to add to what many critics have already said about the excellent wines form this region. The reds are dark and intense and they are responsible for having taken the name of La Rioja around the world, but the whites and rosé are also good. The most important wineries are in Haro, Cenicero and Fuenmayor, to mention a few.

Routes

Route of the monasteries
Departing from the center of San Millán, you can do an easy route visting all monasteries as they are all relatively near from one another. 27 Km from Logroño in Nájera, you will find the monastery of 'Santa María la Real', a national monument. A few kilometres from there you have 'San Millán' nearby to the monasteries of 'Yuso' and 'Suso'. Not far —in Valvanera— you can visit the monastery that guards the 'Patrona de La Rioja'. Further on is the 'Monasterio de Cañas', with a good sample of art from 'Císter'.

Route of the dinosaurs
In Enciso you will find the "Jurasic Park" of the region. A research site of paleontology among the most important in Europe. A route of over 23 kilometres full with dinoasur's fooprints. At Virgen del Campo excavation site, footprints of iguanodonts, carnosaurs and tiranosaur rex have been found.

Logo of the Official Regulation Comitee of the wines from La Rioja >

Route of Rioja wines (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Baja)
In Logroño you will find the wineries of 'Campo Viejo' which produce wines like the 'Marqués de Villamagna, Gran Reserva 94' or 'Viña Alcorta Reserva 95' to name a couple. Also in Logroño are 'Bodegas Olarra' and 'Bodegas Franco Españolas'. If you take the N-232 road to Fuenmayor, you will find 'Bodegas AGE', 'Bodegas Marqués del Puerto' and 'Bodegas LAN'. In Cenicero are the headqueaters of 'Bodegas Berberana' and 'Bodegas Riojanas'. San Asensio is known for its production of 'clarete' wine and it's where every year they celebrate the 'Batalla del clarete' (a battle with wine as a weapon that takes place every July 25th). In the village of Ollauri you will find the famous winery 'Bodegas Marqués de Griñón'. In Haro, 'Bodegas Muga', 'Federico Paternina', 'Bilbaína', etc. and the Wine Museum.

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