Ermita de San Pedro de Echano (Etxano)

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The guide books give the impression this is in Oloriz. It isn’t and is a 15minute drive from the town. It is is signed off the Olóriz to Bariain road. The area is referred to a La Valdorba. Roads round here are narrow, often poorly signed and, as we discovered, the Michelin map was inaccurate.

It is a lovely setting in a small wooded side valley by the river surrounded by fields of wheat. It has a small flat rectangular bell cote with two small bells. The nave has small holes left in the stonework from when it was built. There are narrow slit windows on the south wall. The round east apse has three tall narrow windows.

This is described as one of the most beautiful churches in the area with elaborate carvings. The impressive north doorway has a small tiled porch with carved corbels with mainly figures. There are three large round pillars on either side of the door with carved capitals. Some of the figures have been defaced and their heads hacked off. The round arches above the door are decorated with carvings birds, faces, musicians playing instruments and scrolls. There are more carved corbels along the north wall and the apse with a carved frieze between them. There are carvings of animal heads, a wolf head devouring a human head, acrobats, musicians, flowers and scrolls.

Unfortunately like nearly all the churches in Navarre, it was locked. Never the less, it was well worth finding.

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