Located in the Urola Valley (Basque Country, Spain), an idyllic setting surrounded by mountains, the Basilica at the Sanctuary of Loyola has been recently lit up in a warm shade of white by GRIVEN in cooperation with LAMP Spain.
SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
One of the most outstanding Basque figures in history, Íñigo López de Loyola (now better known as Saint Ignatius of Loyola), was born in 1491 in his family house in Azpeitia in the Basque province of Guipuzcoa in northern Spain. Son of the Lord of Loyola, member of an important Biscayan family, Íñigo used to frequent the royal court since his childhood. As an adult, he became a controversial figure, being addicted to gambling, very contentious, and inclined to engaging in swordplay. An officer by the age of 30, he was struck by a cannon ball, which wounded him one leg and broke the other on the occasion of a battle for the defense of the fortress of Pamplona. During his long recovery, when the doctors advised that he should prepare for death, he felt called by God after reading several books on the life of Jesus and the Saints. After his conversion, he became a Catholic priest and theologian, and founded the religious order of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
The house where Saint Ignatius was born, known as the "Casa Natal”, dates back to feudal times. Resembling a medieval fortress, its walls are almost two metres thick and fitted with embrasures just like a stronghold. In 1551 the first Jesuits showed great interest in Ignatius’s birthplace. After the canonization of St. Ignatius on March 12th, 1622, the Society of Jesus promoted the preservation of the site where its founder experienced his conversion. In 1681, the Society obtained the ownership of the house and began to build, in different steps, what today is worldwide known as the Sanctuary of Loyola. Nowadays, the sanctuary is a place of pilgrimage for many devotees, who can find here at the same time the place of St Ignatio’s birth and conversion.
Designed by the Italian architect Carlo Maria Fontana, the basilica stands right in the central part of the main façade of the Sanctuary, well balancing its 150 meter long frontage. The first stone was laid on March, 28th 1689 and the building was dedicated on July, 31st 1738, feast of St. Ignatius. The whole structure, on which worked over 600 masons in the course of the years, was made up of large blocks of limestone quarried from the close Mount Izarraitz.
Enriched by columns, capitals, freizes and preceded by a wide portico decorated in the typical churrigueresque baroque style, the majestic front entrance of the basilica is crowned by an impressive 65m high dome with a diameter of 20 m. The virtues of Faith, Hope, Religion, Charity, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance are represented at the base of the dome. Above them, there are the coats of arms of the houses of Habsburg and Bourbon, which financed the building construction.
Raffaele Vincelli, GRIVEN S.r.l.
Product specification and installation
MONTAJES ELÉCTRICOS GAU ARGI S,L
Paulo Azkue, MONTAJES ELÉCTRICOS GAU ARGI S,L
Society of Jesus, Santuario de Loyola
Aitor Rodríguez, Foto Ángel