A World Heritage Site and cradle of the Spanish language. There is that. It is quite clear that the two monasteries of Suso and Yuso in San Millán de la Cogolla do not need a letter of presentation. So let us briefly tell you their history.
It all started in the sixth century when the Visigoths had been here just a few days, and a hermit named Millán came to the caves of these mountains to stay in them to pray and pray.
The man had the opportunity to live that life for a long time because he died in the year 574, at the age of 101, something incredible at that time. His body was laid in one of the caves and around his tomb they built a small monastery which would be enlarged much later, in the tenth century. The trouble was that in the year 1002, as if the prophecy of the Revelation was happening, Almanzor arrived with his Muslim armies and turned everything into dust and ashes. So the Monastery of Suso that you see today comes, mostly, from the following centuries. However, there are still some primitive remains as well as the caves of Saint Millán and of others who followed his example.
Also in here, there are the tombs of the Seven Infants of Lara and of several queens of Navarre. But even though, all this it’s impressive, which it is, remember that you still have another monastery to visit.
Just as Suso means “the upper one,” Yuso means “the lower one," and there is a good reason why this other monastery exists: it turns out that King García had a great devotion to Saint Millán, and back in the eleventh century he wanted to take his remains from Suso to Nájera. But the oxen that carried the relics stopped near the river and wouldn’t move an inch further. This was interpreted as a signal meaning that the saint preferred to stay in this land, so the monarch backed out, and in that exact same spot, he ordered to build the monastery of Yuso where the Saint's remains would be kept forever. A building, that together with the one above are known today as the cradle of the Spanish language.
You will say that a language is not born just like that, as if it was a baby that one day comes to the world. And it is true, but the first known babbles of the Castilian language were written down in Saint Millán. They are called The “Glossas Emiliarenses," and they are glosses written in a Latin codex, which the copyist monk added to the popular language. Aww… if he could see today how his work, the Castilian language, is kept and venerated more than a thousand years later… No wonder that in the year 1997 both monasteries were declared World Heritage Sites.