A blend of cultures


The Roman Bridge, declared an “Asset of Cultural Interest” in 1982 and rebuilt in the Early Middle Ages, has undergone various architectural interventions over time to maintain its beauty and functionality. It is built with three circular windows of different construction, two semi-circular and one with a pointed arch and ashlar stone with padding.

Next to the bridge, we can see the Priory building, a house with a quadrangular plan. It presumes of a wide balcony and the shields of the Order and Abbey of San Millán de la Cogolla on its three-door façade. It was probably built in the 17th century and it was the residence of the Prior of the Monastery.

Since the 10th century, the village has been historically linked to the Monasteries of Suso and Yuso. The first written evidence of the Spanish language were found there, which is why they are considered the cradle of the Spanish language and are recognised as “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO since 1997 (

In the year 947, Fernán González, Count of Castilla, handed over the then-existing Monastery of San Juan de Cihuri and its village to San Millán. In his memory, the Church of Cihuri is called with the same name “San Juan Bautista”.

In the words of Felipe Abad León: “In this concession of Fernán González, the power was given to populate, build and expand San Juan’s Monastery and the village of Cihuri that are «next to the course of the Tirón river» (iuxta cursum Tironis). The concession was substantial and total, with its lands, vineyards, orchands, the three mills, water, groves, meadows and much more. All given without limitation and forever. At that time, Fortunio was the Abbot of San Millán, as appears in the document.

This concession from Count Fernán González was vital for the historical record of Cihuri. The Abbot of San Millán exercised full lordship over the village, both in religious and civil contexts. This is why a Priory was founded in Cihuri to which the Abbot sent his representative with Prior’s title, with the necessary assistants. They governed the Parish Church and administered the Monastery’s goods under full Abbot’s jurisdiction.

Based on documentation evidence and archaeological remains found in the excavation, it can be confirmed that, in the Middle Ages, the Priory became the administrative centre of this area of Oja-Tirón.


In the surroundings of the Bridge, in the same shore as the Priory, there is an archaeological site with a fountain and various laundry sinks that must have been used, according to an archaeological study, for wool treatment. The wool trade was very common in this area from the Middle Ages and, without a doubt, was part of the works of the Monastery of San Millán. The archaeological site is dated, probably in the 17th century, although ceramic remains of Roman origin have also been found.

​ The income of the Monastery of San Millán mainly came from the territorial domain due to its extensive number of hectares. The municipalities that had the largest amount of land were San Millán Valley, Badarán and Cihuri. Agriculture and sheep farming were the main resources. Normally the treatment, cleaning and purification of the wool were carried out near the shearing areas, especially in summer.

In addition to the stone extraction area, you can see a fountain with two concatenated prehistoric basins at different heights, carved for textile washing and cold rinsing. Both basins also served as small troughs for the traditional fountain.

​ In the complex, there is an area with two angled rectangular rooms, whose function was the cleaning and rinsing of the hot wool after shearing. You can see the stone carvings of the gutters for the drainage. In addition, some stairs carved into the rock allowed access to the upper area where the hot water boilers were placed, to be able to turn it through the drain that fell into the depths. It is possible to see an external channel on the eastern side with a greater width and rock pouring depth, focused on favouring maintenance work, and capturing surface water resources by infiltration.

​ Although the activity as a warehouse for wool in the Cihuri Priory is documented, at least since the end of the 16th century, the Madoz Dictionary (1850) also describes the Priory building and its uses, including working with the wool:

​ “The Priorato house, located half a quarter of a league from the village and next to the previously mentioned stone bridge over the Tirón river, consists of a solid and spacious building of medium size, with all the desirable comforts. There are also all the necessary tools and space to collect more than a thousand fanegas (1.58 bushels) of grain, a place to store wool and good wine pressing houses to keep five to six thousand tanks of very good quality wine that has been harvested from more than five hundred obradas (4,000 m2) of vineyards and white soil. All these lands and buildings are owned by a private individual who has bought them from the state for a million and a half reals”.


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CIHURI TURISMO / Ayuntamiento de Cihuri. C/. Real , 34. Cihuri, La Rioja, Spain / Phone: 941 32 01 01