Saint John of Amamio is a beautiful Romanesque hermitage of the 12th century that dominates the landscape from above. As we approach the hermitage through the path that links it to the nearby town of Araia, we find ourselves on a somewhat uncomfortable location, in the middle of a steep slope. This would cause certain maintenance problems to the building throughout its history. This small hermitage is usually set as one of the most eloquent examples of what a church of a small village would be like in the Romanesque centuries in Álava, since, as it was abandoned a few centuries after its creation, there were no major renovations or remodellings that would vary its appearance too much.
Saint John’s hermitage
The hermitage consists of a single small nave that has not gone through many interventions over time, except the appropriate preservation work. One of the most outstanding pieces of the exterior is the beautiful apse window. On one of its capitals, carved with great mastery, we see an eagle from the front with the wings extended downwards, holding on to the necking with its claws. On the other, there are two lion bodies with the tail between the hind legs that share a head on the corner. Both rest their front legs on a kind of sphere in the middle of the capital. The cornice is decorated with vegetal rinceaux and a checkered arch is set out over the simple window.
Current photographs: © Alava Medieval / Erdi Aroko Araba.
Old photographs: Archive of the Historical Territory of Álava.