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Santiago Ribas

Santuario da Nossa Senhora da Lapa

Iñaki Rezola

San Juan Xar, a double sanctuary

Arantza-Igantzi, Northern Navarre, Spain

11,30 am local time

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© 2004 Iñaki Rezola, All Rights Reserved.

Caption

San Juan Xar is a little place in the middle of nowhere, so to say, as it is situated a few kilometers away from the nearest towns, Arantza-Aranaz and Igantzi-Yanci. This is in fact a double sanctuary. The first and most obvious one is the little cave devoted to 'St John The Old', as this is the meaning of 'San Juan Xar' in basque (basque is the most used language in northern Navarre). People around here worship greatly the saint and the place, partly, I suppose, due to the fact of there being a little healing waters source right under the cave. Caves were often believed to be the gates to the underworld in many cultures, that's why flowers were placed in their entrances, so the story of this holy place may be older than one might think. Most christian worship little altars as this one took usually the place of older pagan sites, and one must not forget the big witchcraft craze that took place in Northern Navarre at the beginning of the modern Age... On the other hand, this is a natural sanctuary too, as the little cave is placed in the only hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus) natural wood in the whole Iberian peninsula. The hornbeam is a relative to the birch, but its leaves and buds may be more reminiscent of the beech's ones. I'm showing a little virtual tour of the place at Virtual San Juan Xar It felt kind of contradictory shooting this panos on the winter solstice, as St John's day is just on the summer's one!

Additional Captions: San Juan Xar (castellano) ▼ Behind the scene : how this panorama was made ▼ San Juan Xar, euskeraz ▼

Location

Europe / Spain

Lat: 43° 13' 6" N
Long: 1° 41' 52" W

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

Equipment

Nikon D70, Nikkor 10,5, homemade panohead, PanoTools-PTGui, Photoshop, Panocube Plus

San Juan Xar (castellano)

San Juan Xar es en realidad un doble santuario. Por un lado, es la ermita situada en la cueva, pero por el otro es un santuario natural.


San Juan Xar está en medio de los montes, a algunos kilómetros de los pueblos más cercanos, Arantza-Aranaz e Igantzi-Yanci.

La cueva con su altar está dedicada a 'San Juan Viejo' que es lo que significa el nombre en el euskera local, (el euskera es la lengua más empleada en esta parte de la montaña navarra). La población local venera al santo, en parte, supongo, debido a las aguas curativas de un manantial que brota bajo la cueva. Numerosas son las culturas en todas las partes del mundo que consideran a las cuevas como entradas al mundo subterráneo de los muertos, por lo que colocan flores a su entrada. Lo que da que pensar que la historia de este lugar puede ser más larga de lo que podamos imaginar en un principio. De hecho, muchísimos lugares de culto cristianos como este ocuparon el lugar de otros paganos más antiguos. Y tampoco debemos olvidar, aunque en tiempos más recientes, la locura hechiceril que invadi&ocute; especialmente a Navarra a comienzos de la Edad moderna.

Por otro lado, San Juan Xar es un santuario natural que cobija el único bosque de carpes (Carpinus Betulus) de toda la Península Ibérica. El carpe es un arbol pariente del abedul, pero sus hojas y brotes pueden recordar más a las del haya.

He colgado una pequeña visita virtual del sitio en

Visita virtual a San Juan Xar


Y la verdad es que se me hizo raro fotografiar San Juan Xar en este solsticio de invierno cuando se celebra justamente en el de verano...

Behind the scene : how this panorama was made

Well, nothing quite relevant this time. Except that the weather report was terrible for that december the 187th: rain and heavy winds up to 90 km.s per hour were expected. And my place was in the middle of a wood. To sum it up: stormy stitching sessions after stormy shootings in prospect. So, as promised after the 'Bridges' sessions, I prayed Janus and headed for the place, an hour or so from where I live (Donostia-San Sebastián). Oddly enough, no heavy wind, no rain, just a white sky on my way. I thought that it all would start the moment I had my pano stuff ready to shoot... But I happened to be wrong! I started shooting the upper side of the place, this is the cave where St John's altar is. It is situated in the middle of a steep hill. But I had never intended to shoot inside the cave, deterred from it by the huge differences of light intensity between the inner and the outer shots. So this pano should have never existed, according to my plans. I don't know why, anyway, I started shooting without much expections. I just shot a couple of pics for two of the six shots. The results were at the height of what one would have expected, specially the bottom pic, handheld shot and totally blurred. Then I continued my frentic shooting before the storm would start. Janus was on my side... It just started raining gently when I was preparing the tripod for the healing waters fountain. So then I took the camera in one hand, the tripod on the other and made the last two whirling like a crazed derviche -I suppose. And then back home, to do the stitching. When I started with this one, I did't have any particular expectations about the result. But I liked the flower surrounded reddish idol-like figure and decided that it deserved a try. So after going through heavy Photoshurgical treatment -for outer pics specially- it begun to look like something that might deserve to be looked at... And I finally decided to choose it. It is far from perfect, but taking into account the source images that went into it I really feel proud of it! The other panos, with the wood, the little river andthe fountain may be seen at es.geocities.com/javirezola/sanjuanxar.html

San Juan Xar, euskeraz

San Juan Xarren santutegi bi daude. Batetik, kobazuloko baseliza dago, eta bestetik santutegi naturala. San Juan Xar mendi artean dago, Arantza-Aranaz eta Igantzi-Yanci (herririk hurbilenetik) hainbat kilometrotara. Lurraldeko biztanleek oso maite dute San Juan, eta horretan seguru hango iturriko urak baduela zerikusirik, gaixotasunak sendatzeko ospa baitu. Munduan zehar kultura dexentek hartu izan ditu kobazuloak lurpeko munduko atari gisa, hau da, hildakoen munduko atari gisa, eta horregatik loreak jartzen zituzten sarreretan. Bestaldetik, kristau eliza, baseliza eta aldare txiki anitzek jentileen leku sakratuen tokia hartu zuten. Honek pentsaerazten digu ea gure San Juan Xarrek ez ote duen uste dugu baino historia luzeagoa izango... Eta ez dugu ahaztu behar sorginen kontuak, bailara honetan aro modernoaren hastapenetan hainbeste garrantzia izan zutenak. Bestaldetik, San Juan Xar santutegi naturala da, bertan aurkitzen baita Pentsula Iberiarraren xarma -Carpinus Betulus- baso bakarra. Xarmak urkiaren ahaide hurbilak dira, bainan errazago nahas daitezke beren hosto eta bereziki beren kimuak pagoarenekin. Bisita birtual txiki bat ikus daiteke hurrengo helbidean San Juan Xar, bisita birtuala Egia esan, arraro gertatu zitzaidan panoramika hauek neguko solstizioan ateratzea, San Juanen ospakizun handienak uda hasieran ospatzen direla!
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