HERMITAGE OF THE VIRGIN OF THE LIENA
The hermitage of the Virgin of the Liena rises in highest of the inner city of Murillo de Gállego, to few meters of where it was the old castle.
Murillo de Gállego, next to the Roman route that communicated the Pyrenean one with the flat earth one, had a strategic importance of first order. It comprised of the thick line of strengths constructed by the kings of Pamplona in centuries X and XI to defend his dominions of the enemy of the south. Between these strengths we could find castles like those of Loarre, Marcuello, Luesia, Sos del Rey Católico, Uncastillo, Agüero, Murillo de Gállego... Of some of them only some rest are left.
In the place where today is the Hermitage of the Virgin of the Liena, was the primitive town of Murillo de Gállego. The plinths of the missing castle, a cametery of tombs excavated on the rock and the Church of the Virgin of the Liena that keeps rest previous to the present parish from El Salvador, consecrated in 1.110 can be seen. Between the castle and the church probably there were some houses, like at the present time, but it is clear that the actual hermitage of the Virgin of The Liena was the church of the castle and the first parish of Murillo de Gállego.
The church is constructed on a rock whose form conditions the plant of the building. Of the primitive church it is only left a window with two horseshoe archs inserted in the projection wall. This wall is conserved in all its integrity. These rest could date in the century X.
Underneath the rock where it rises the hermitage is a cave that in this moment is blocked up with rough stones, where according to the tradition the image of the Virgin was found. This Virgin is a wood stature which like the rest of virgins of the time is seated and on her legs is the Boy. The Virgin with her left arm maintains to the Boy and in his right hand she maintains a sphere. The clothes of the image are gilded with adornments in green tones and the ones of the Boy are similar. The boy maintains in his right hand a small bird.
This Virgin is famous because it is said that she is a miraculous Virgin. She is centered in obtaining rain for the fields in drought and taking care of the women during the pregnancy and the critical moment of the birth, in addition to the many attentions she had with the dyings and patients long weakened in the bed.
The primitive building was smaller than the present one. Due to the danger it ran, eleven stone pillars to sustain the rock were raised. That is the reason why the hermitage at the begining was called Hermitage of Our Lady of the Eleven Pillars instead of being called Hermitage of the Virgin of the Liena. Later, another pillar was added.
The present construction is more late. It is possible to think that it belongs to the century XV because during this time and in all this region a constructive style based on buildings over a single nave, with pointed archs that maintain a wood ceiling are very frecuent.
The building is of a single nave and it is oriented liturgically. Three pointed archs that start from the ground, maintain the cover of wood and Arab roofing tile. On the feet of the temple there is a high wood choir. The ground is of " road " and it is constructed with tens of thousand of boulders of the neighbor Gįllego river that form precious drawings.
The side of the noon is protected by a roof tile which is maintained by twelve stone pillars that cover the facade completely. A great stone stairs gives access to the hermitage.
The altarpiece of the Virgin is baroque churrigueresque and it was ordered to construct at the beginning of century XVIII. It consists of three separated streets by huge columns. In the central street of the altarpiece there is a niche with the image of the Virgin (the Virgin, by reasons for security, is kept in the Church of Saint Saviour of Murillo de Gállego), and in the lateral streets and in the attic there are five linen cloths with images of diverse saints.
Until recently time, this altarpiece was in its original location, the wall where it is the greatest altar. Due to the discovery of paintings murals of gothic character, it was transferred to the wall of the Gospel where it is at the moment.
Neighbors of Murillo de Gállego raise this church the Sunday in which the celebrations of San Bartholomew finish, the 24 of August. They also raise this hermitage the day of the Candlemas (the second of February) and the day of the Invention of the Saint Cross (the third of May) from where terms are blessed. Formerly, they also raised the Palm Sunday, from where a procession began to the Church of Saint Saviour of Murillo de Gállego.