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San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries
San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries

Today you get to learn something that is rarely blogged about – the origin of Spanish language. Read through this blog and you will get to learn how and where the Spanish language started and later developed to be spoken by more than 500 million people.

Today you get to learn something that is rarely blogged about – the origin of Spanish language. Read through this blog and you will get to learn how and where the Spanish language started and later developed to be spoken by more than 500 million people.

Apparently, the language was born in two monasteries - the San Millan Suso and Yuso. The two monasteries form an important part of the humanity history. The two monasteries had elements of interaction with Mozarabic, Visigothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Medieval styles. All these interactions greatly influenced the history of Spain.

The Suso Monastery

The holy San Millan decided on a site to put up the Suso Monastery in the mid-6th century. The monastery is flanked by Cogolla or Distercios hills. Apparently San millan was to be joined by other eremitic monks that resided within the Cogolla Community.

A small monastery was erected during the saint’s lifetime using the Visigothic style. It would later be enlarged in the 7th century by hall construction up against the caves. The hall was used to receive pilgrims.  The church was again rebuilt in 929 during the rule of Garcia Sanchez of Navarre and Castille in a style known as Mozarabic. It was consecrated in 984 with King Sancho Abarca and his wife Dona Urraca in attendance.

The famous Codex of Aemilianensi 60, the basis of the present day Spanish language, was written in the Suso Scriptorium from late 9th century to early 10th century by one of the monastery’s monks. He added marginal notes in Castilian and Basque languages, and a prayer in Castilian in a bid to clarify the Latin passaged in the text. This became the first known written Spanish.

An 11th century fire gutted down the church, but this would be restored by King Sancho the Great, adding some modifications such as the orientation of the church and chapel building to include the recumbent statue of San Millan.

The Suso Monastery was again built in 1503 under the orders of King Garcia Sanchez of Najera. The new monastery consisted of a series of Hermits’ caves, a church, and an entrance porch. The caves were cut into the slopes of the mountain.

The Yuso Monastery

This is located next to a modern village below the Suso monastery. It consists of a cluster of small cloisters known as Canon’s Cloisters that surround the main cloister that was named after San Millan. To the west of the main cloister there is the Monarch’s Chamber. Other monuments within this establishment include the ornate Abbot's Chamber and a spacious courtyard.

This is a place that should be on top of your bucket list. It is one of the most important linguistics centers in the world.