The Sanctuary of Arantzazu is situated in a wild and remote landscape.
According to tradition, in the spring of 1468, the shepherd Rodrigo de Baltzategi was gathering his flock when he heard the sound of a cowbell calling him and found the image of the Virgin Mary. As soon as word spread about this occurrence, which was considered miraculous, pilgrims started to visit the site.
Throughout the centuries, many structures have been erected, however, none of the original buildings remain. In 1950, the construction of the modern basilica was started as, it seems, the existing one was too small. Today the structure rises on the cliff of the Sanctuary, elevated on the impressive rocks.
In 1501, the Franciscans were given papal permission to remain in Arantzazu and have done so continuously for over 500 years. The community lives next to the church and the house is dedicated to spiritual exercises.
The day of Our Lady of Arantzazu, patron of Guipuzcoa, is celebrated on 9 September
This is a place to converse and get together. Opened in 2005, this cultural centre was created on the site of the old seminary, giving it a modern appearance. Now, the centre is divided into different areas:
- Conference and exhibition centre. Arantzazugandiaga
- Parketxea: Interpretation Centre of the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park. Parketxea
This is the small building situated between the Basilica and Gandiaga Topagunea. The name “Misterio” refers to a sculpture by Jorge Oteiza found in the same place. The sculpture represents a friar from Arantzazu offering the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus to the people.