On the outskirts of the town of Elburgo, between crop fields, we find Saint John’s hermitage. This building is the only standing remnant that testifies the existence of an ancient small village, named Arrarain, that prospered in the area until the 14th century, when it was abandoned. This abandoned village was located near the commonly known as “Road of the Romans”, which already indicates the presence in the vicinities of the ancient Roman road that connected Bordeaux with Astorga and that crossed alavaise lands. After centuries functioning as a hermitage, maintained by the residents of Elburgo, they decided to place their cemetery next to the north wall of the small temple, so this is why it works as the chapel of the town’s cemetery today.
Only the apse has survived from the primitive Romanesque church of the 12th century, while the nave has been replaced by a later body, covered by wooden beams. On the apse we find a simple round arch window held by a pair of columns with cable mouldings on the pedestals.
On the cornice of the semicircular apse, some decorated corbels survive, which offer an interesting repertoire. Starting on the south side and following the line to the north, we can see a cylindrical element, possibly a dog or a wolf opening the jaws and showing the front legs, a bearded musician playing a vielle and at his side another corbel that represents a hurdy-gurdy player, musical instruments that were both very common in the Middle Ages.
De las fotografías actuales: © Alava Medieval / Erdi Aroko Araba.
De las fotografías antiguas: Archivo del Territorio Histórico de Álava.