Saint Pelagius’ Monastery – Monasterio de San Pelay
Where: San Pelay
How to get there: From the N-260 between Biescas and Gavín, take the turn-off for the camp site just before you get to Gavín. Cross the ravine by the bridge and, following the signs, continue on the path, which is in good condition and leads to the localities of Barbenuta and Espierre. After approx. 1,400 metres, take the turn-off on the left. About 1,700 metres after that turn-off, take the path that goes off the main track, leading east. After approx. 500 metres you will see the remains of the monastery.
Signposting: YesSpatial orientation: To the south east of Gavín
On a lovely site on the left bank of the River Sia, a few kilometres away from Gavín, you will find what remains of the former Saint Pelagius’ Monastery (Monasterio de San Pelay), which was discovered recently and an excavation carried out (the end of 1997).
The Monastery has been dated to the 10th/11th Century, which means it was functioning at the same time as Saint Peter’s Monastery (Monasterio de San Pedro) in Rava, in the Broto Valley. It appears that the Monastery was abandoned in the 18th Century and reverted to rural farmland.
The excavations revealed that there were two churches at the Monastery that were connected by a stairway and hall. The Monastery also had a tower, dormitory and other monastic buildings. The higher church was vaulted,with splayed windows and had a large traverse rib supported by three pillars. The connecting hall had a barrel vault and the entrance door was in the form of a horseshoe arch with steps of high quality work.
The lower church is a single-nave building, divided into two sections by a traverse rib supported by three pillars and covered by a barrel vault starting at an impost. The apse is semi-circular and covered with a semi dome. There are two semi-circular splayed openings, one in the apse and the other in the south face. The exterior of the apse has a band of blind arches; four of which are still intact.
To ensure the conservation of the Church a shelter and wall have been built to prevent access to the site.