Saturday, 30 November 2019

The Black Madonna


The shrine of the Black Madonna of Guadalupe, photographed from the railway station in Hendaye.
Shrine of the Black Madonna of Guadalupe, Hondarribia, Spain. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

On one of our forays into Spain from Saint Jean de Luz when we were on holiday in September we made our way up to a church on the hill that we had seen from down below in Hondarribia-Fuenterrabia-Fontarrabie. We knew absolutely nothing about this church, so boy! were we in for a surprise!! It contained treasure!

 Looking from Spain across Hondarribia and the Bidasoa River, to France and Hendaye, photographed from the terrace near the church.
View across Hondarribia and Hendaye on the French-Spanish border. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

From a lookout terrace in front of the church you look down on the Bay of Biscay. There is nothing on the exterior to indicate that the church contains something special, and we almost moved on without going in, thinking we'd seen the highlights ie the view.

Black madonna of Guadalupe, Hondarribia-Fuenterribia-Fontarribia, Spain. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The church is the home of the Virgin of Guadalupe, one of only three black madonnas in Spain -- and our first ever. The statue was found centuries ago, but we were just a few days early for her big festival when she is brought out and paraded in the street. On regular days she is on display over the altar in the church, which is on the pilgrim trail. Despite that we had the church to ourselves for most of the time we were there.

The Black Madonna of Guadalupe in her shrine above Hondarribia.
Black madonna of Guadalupe, Hondarribia-Fuenterribia-Fontarribia, Spain. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

In 1639 King Louis XIII had Hondarribia under seige. The Spanish locals prayed to the Virgin of Guadalupe in her shrine overlooking the town and promised to hold a parade in her honor every year if she saved them. Naturally she obliged. I should have known something was up because there was a note on the noticeboard telling you who to contact if you were an instagrammer or youtuber.


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