SAN JUAN DE SOCUEVA
To our collaborator Javier Pelaz Baci, member of 4AeS, who furnished us with a great part of the information an photographs used for this file.
- It was declared Heritage of Cultural Interest in 1985.
- Semi cave hermitage built by closing an opening in a cave.
The hermitage lies in a cavity at the feet of a headland, taking advantage of the chalky corbel. Its dating places it usually in the 10th century. Different to other hermitages and cave churches in Valderredible, at the west of the region, Socueva did not need to be excavated in the rock as it lies on karstic soil.
The hermitage consists on a rectangular nave divided by a wall in two zones, connected by a door, and a semicircular apse formed by a dry stone wall, covered by a semi-dome vault, with a very narrow window as a loophole. It has also a blocked-off hollow and another one above it that continues through a tunnel; whereas the southern wall is of masonry. The rest of the hermitage takes advantage of the rock of the cave. The cover of the nave and the floor of the whole hermitage, irregular and ascending to the apse, are also natural from the cave.
The entrance of the hermitage is closed with a wall with linteled facade that gives way to a wooden atrium in bad shape, built in the past century.
Inside the hermitage there are three elements that should be pointed out:
1. The triumphal arch, horseshoe shaped, possibly of Visigothic influence, in which surroundings, rests of pictorial decoration have been found, based on geometric drawings.
2. The altar, made up by a stalk and a square table board of a truncated pyramid-shaped cross-section. During the tidying up work when it ws restored a few years ago, a small box with relics was discovered under the altar.
3. The semicircular apse covered with a semi dome vault and that has a rectangular opening on the sidewall of Romanesque inspiration.
Only material and archeologiacal evidence have been found in the cave, attributable to the paleolithic and protohistoric period. Upon those traces the High Medieval church has been superimposed. According to professors Bohigas and Marcos, in Socueva “we attend to a paradigm of the classical syncretic expansion of Christianity”.
Other interesting information
Go up from the hermitage of La Magdalena, in the neighbourhood of Socueva, at 2 Km from the village of Arredondo, until the fountain of Socueva. Climb from there along a rough path where there is a limestone cross with inscription. If we carry on ascending, a few rustic steps will take us to the hermitage’s vicinity.>/div>