Nearby villages of Bilbao and Bermeo in Spain is a small island San of Juan de Gaztelugatxe ( aka Gastelugache ). The island would not remarkable if not for the X century chapel located at the top of the cliffs and the long winding stone staircases 237 steps leading to the chapel, and then they attract many tourists. Gaztelugatxe Island is connected to the mainland by a narrow stone Double Arch Bridge, on which there is a narrow path to the very stairs. Before the bridge also organized parking for cars to tourists was where to park. Going up the long stairs, it seems as if it is endless, but the thought of that from the height of great views of the steep coast of the mainland, wriggling path, as well as the fascinating sea makes to climb higher and higher.
At the end of this difficult path awaits tourists at the chapel, the bell tolls, which now and then could be heard from the top of the rock during the entire path of ascension. Now it rings constantly, since anyone can do it, and once upon a time the bell of the chapel built by the Knights Templar in the 10th century and dedicated to John the Baptist, called only in case of an impending storm, warning, so the sailors, the threat. flickr/Xabier Zaldua
Inside the chapel, near the statue of Christ, there are numerous offerings in gratitude for the wonderful salvation in any shipwreck. Here, in this part of the formed museum has ships, as well as other donations sailors. On top of the mountain there is a kind of shelter – a room with three walls under the roof, with a hearth, letting the night here in the warmer months.
According to one ancient legend known that when John the Baptist (San Juan) , landed in Bermeo, chasing the Devil, he reached his 3 steps on the island Gaztelugatxe. And even to this day on the last rung of the ladder has remained one of the prints of his feet. It is also a legend that in 1593 robbed the chapel of the famous pirate Francis Drake. Due to its important strategic position, the island has frequently been the party and other historical battles. In 1334 there took place a battle between Biscay Senor Don Juan Nunez de Lara with a powerful king of Castile Alfonso XI. In 1594 the island was attacked by the Huguenots of La Rochelle, who killed the caretaker of the chapel. In the 18th century it was attacked by the British troops. It is also known that the chapel burned, the last large fire occurred several times in 1978. But 2 years later, on the day of St. Joan (John) the Baptist, June 24, 1980 the chapel was re-opened.
The island of San Juan de Gastelugache is a great place to visit, amazing historical place with its history and beautiful views will impress any visitor. It is always crowded and if you want more privacy, peace and quiet to enjoy the spectacular views of the island it is better to visit it in spring or autumn, because in summer there are too many tourists.
flickr/Iñaki Gómez Marín
flickr/Jose Antonio Ruiz Martín
flickr/Eva Maria Rodríguez Castro