Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
San Millán (VirtualCom - only in spanish)

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1997
Size of heritage: 19 ha
- Buffer zone: 266 ha

Longitude: -1,135°
Latitude: 42,326°


The monastic community founded by St Millán in the mid-6th century became a place of pilgrimage. A fine Romanesque church built in honour of the holy man still stands at the site of Suso. It was here that the first literature was produced in Castilian, from which one of the most widely spoken languages in the world today is derived. In the early 16th century the community was housed in the fine new monastery of Yuso, below the older complex; it is still a thriving community today.

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San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries

The San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries, located in the picturesque village of San Millán de la Cogolla in the province and autonomous community of La Rioja, Spain, are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These monasteries hold immense historical and cultural significance, as they are closely associated with the birth and development of the Spanish language.


The Suso Monastery, also known as the Monastery of Saint Millán de Suso, is the older of the two monasteries, dating back to the 6th century. It was founded by Saint Millán, a hermit who lived in a cave in the nearby mountains. The monastery served as a center for religious and cultural activities, attracting scholars and intellectuals from across the region.

In the 10th century, due to the increasing number of monks, a new monastery, the Yuso Monastery, was built downhill from the Suso Monastery. The Yuso Monastery became the main residence of the monks, while the Suso Monastery continued to be used as a hermitage and a place of pilgrimage.

During the Middle Ages, the monasteries played a crucial role in the preservation and dissemination of knowledge. The monks diligently transcribed and preserved numerous manuscripts, including the Glosas Emilianenses, which are considered the earliest written records of the Spanish language. These glosses, written in the margins of Latin texts, provide valuable insights into the evolution of the Spanish language.

Current State

Today, the San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries continue to be active religious centers, housing a community of Benedictine monks. The monasteries are open to visitors, offering a glimpse into their rich history and architectural beauty.

The Suso Monastery, perched on a hillside, is a small and intimate space. Visitors can explore the cave where Saint Millán lived, as well as the small chapel and the monastic cells. The highlight of the Suso Monastery is the Mozarabic chapel, adorned with beautiful frescoes dating back to the 10th century.

The Yuso Monastery, with its grand architecture, is a larger complex. The monastery features a stunning church, cloisters, and a library that houses a vast collection of ancient manuscripts. The library is a treasure trove for scholars and researchers interested in the history of the Spanish language.

Both monasteries are surrounded by serene landscapes, offering visitors a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. The monastic community continues to maintain the monasteries and engage in religious activities, ensuring the preservation of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

The San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries stand as a testament to the cultural and linguistic heritage of Spain. Their historical significance, coupled with their architectural beauty, make them a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, linguists, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Spain's rich cultural tapestry.

Hotels and places to stay

Rusticae Posada La Pastora

Distance: 2,3 mi
Roncesvalles 1
50678 Uncastillo

Time Information

Checkout: 14:00 - Checkin: 12:00
Weekday: 8:00 - 23:00 (lunchbreak: 14:00 - 16:00)
Weekend: 8:00 - 23:00 (lunchbreak: 14:00 - 16:00)