Oñati district is divided into 15 rural hamlets of huge historic and architectural interest, however, only 2 of them are ancient parishes. A visit to these two parishes is highly recommended because of their surviving rural character still present in the streets.
On the way to Arantzazu is the crossroads that leads to the ancient parish of Araotz. Its location, outside the town centre, encouraged criminals and delinquents to use it as a hiding place during Mediaeval times when feudal lords ruled the region. There is also the hamlet of Aguirre, birth place of the controversial coloniser of the Amazon, Lope de Aguirre.
The church of San Miguel de Araotz was built on high ground. This 16th century construction contains Gothic elements from an earlier place of worship, such as a fascinating wooden roof imitating a ribbed vault. The Baroque altarpiece above the main altar is decorated with a carving by the local artist Domingo Zumalde, dating from the mid-16th or early 17th century.
Nearby is the ancient parish of Urruxola. The centre comprises a parish church, the priest’s house, the school and the cemetery. The church of Nuestra Señora de Urruxola dates from the beginning of the 16th century, however a large part of the building follows a design from the 17th century, a perfect example of Classic Baroque. As in Araotz, the roof is made of wood imitating a ribbed vault.