The humanistic spirit

The importance of knowledge

During this period, the ideas of Humanism and the Renaissance spread rapidly. A general interest in culture and erudition spurred the construction of universities and collegiates. On April 23rd, 1540 Pope Paulo III conceded a "Cum Attendi" authorization for the founding of Sancti Spiritus University in Oñati, the first university in the Basque region, thanks to the initiative of Rodrigo Mercado de Zuazola. This institution enjoyed the same privileges as the ones in Salamanca, Valladolid, Bologne and París. The core stuy programs were Theology, Canonic Studies, Law and Art. The institution was operated under a series of Capitulations that were renovated as a result of the Constitutions of 1551.

Sancti Spiritus University in Oñati is considered to be one of the most relevant buildings of the Basque Renaissance and perhaps its most striking feature is the ornamentation of the facade, which was commissioned to sculptor Pierres Picart. The archway entrance is framed by a vaulted niche arch portraying the meditative image Rodrigo Mercado de Zuazola, a repetition of the model in the mausoleum. Once inside, classicism and the beauty of proportions prevail in the two level courtyard with half-point aches and a cloister stairway.



The panel in the University's chapel is Renaissance in style, from the mid-16th century, attributed to French artist Pierres Picart.

Its structure is clear and regular, and the images on the vaulted niches of the central nave stand out: Saint Michael with the dragon, the coming of the Holy Ghost, the chapel and university names, and the Assumption of Mary surrounded by small angels. The movement of the folds and the figures give the set a certain vitality, with features that point to the coming Mannerist style.

FaLang translation system by Faboba


The Humanistic Spirit


Guided Tours

The Oñati Tourism Office has several tours for visitors. In order to take advantage of these guided tours, visitors must reserve 24 hours in advance.

Oñatiko Turismo Bulegoa
Tlfn. 943 78 34 53

  • 1 bisita

  • 2 bisita

Sancti Spiritus University.

This Renaissance building houses the first university created in Euskal Herria.

Duration: approximately 40 minutes.
Price: Minimum, 10 euros (From 6 people: 1.5 €/pp.)

University and San Miguel Parish.

Construction work for the San Miguel Parrish in Oñati began in the 15th century and continued over three centuries, which is why we can find a mix of different styles, among which the most important is the Gothic style. The cloister, the La Piedad Chapel and the Crypt of the Counts are of particular importance.

Iraupena: Approximately 1 hour.
Price: Minimum, 16 euros (From 6 people: 2.5 €/pp.)

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