The Cantabrian hermitage of San Juan de Socueva, among the most threatened heritage sites in Europe



Dated between years 660-680, San Juan de Socueva It is a rock hermitage located in the Rocky Mountains and is considered the oldest religious construction in Cantabria. With a considerable risk of collapse, has just been included by Europa Nostra among the heritage enclaves most threatened in the entire continent.

The pan-European federation of heritage NGOs, the largest and most representative network in Europe, today announced the 12 sites shortlisted for the Program of the 7 most threatened 2021. This list, developed together with the Institute of the European Investment Bank, helps monuments in danger by mobilizing communities and joining the efforts of public and private entities, but it is not a financing program. n

The twelve nominations

-Rock hermitage of San Juan de Socueva. Cantabria (Spain)

-The Achensee railway. Tirol (Austria)

-Modern Theater. Sofia (Bukgaria)

-Cementerio de Mirogoj. Zagreb (Croatia)

-Iglesia of Saint-Denis. Hauts-de-France (Francia)

-Fortress of Narikala. Tiflis (Georgia)

-Green Space System. Colonia (Alemania)

-The five islands of the South Aegean. Greece

-The Giusti Garden. Italy

-Palace of Ca ‘Zenobio. Venice Italy)

– Decani Monastery. Kosovo

-Central Post Office of Skopje. North macedonia


The state of conservation San Juan de Socueva, located in the Rocky Mountains, just south of the municipality of Arredondo, is very worrying. The portico is in an advanced state of disrepair: its simple roof is no longer securely attached to the rock wall, and it is in imminent risk of collapse. It is vulnerable to visitors They can freely enter and take items or cause other damage. A protective enclosure is needed until the analysis, investigation, diagnosis and conservation process is completed. Although there is a collaboration with the Cantabria Ministry of Culture, previous work has stopped.

This ancient rock hermitage is, Cantabria, in the north of Spain. It was built next to a series of taller caves that were inhabited by humans since ancient times. The chapel continues to maintain its religious function and is deeply rooted in the community, which until recently still celebrated the cult of Saint John the Baptist.

The square nave of the hermitage has a sloping north wall of natural stone and a south wall of masonry and plaster. It is separated from the apse with its backlit altar by a screen topped with a horseshoe-shaped opening, and is divided from the smaller vestibule by a square door frame. There’s a neoclassical altar from the 19th century along the wall of the outer portico with a niche for an image of its patron.


The designation of the Ermita de San Juan de Socueva as a candidate for the Program of the 7 most threatened 2021 was carried out by Future for Religious Heritage, the European network of historical places of worship, which is a member of the European Heritage Alliance.

All sites were selected on the basis of the outstanding heritage importance and cultural value of each of the sites, as well as on the basis of the serious danger they face. Furthermore, the level of commitment from local communities and the commitment of public and private stakeholders to save these sites were seen as crucial added values. Another selection criterion was the potential of these sites to act as a catalyst for the sustainable socio-economic development of their wider localities and regions.

The 12 endangered heritage sites were shortlisted by an international Advisory Group, made up of experts in history, archeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance. The final list of the 7 most threatened heritage sites in Europe for 2021 will be released in March.

See them

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *