The Hermitages are located in the Sierra of Cordoba, in a place called Desierto de Nuestra Señora de Belén. They are famous for housing the great statue of the Heart of Jesus, it is a place where silence reigns and where one of the best views of the city is achieved.
Description the Hermitages
It is a group of 13 hermitages (some still unrestored) where the hermits retired to meditate and lead a life of austerity at the beginning of the 18th century. Today the complex houses the Hermitages, its Church, a cemetery and as the best-known image the great statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, located opposite the Balcony of the World. Next to the esplanade of the mirador there is a cross and an armchair carved in stone that is called the chair of the Bishop.
The Church of the hermitages
Acceding through the cypress walk you will reach the Church of the hermitages, a building with a cross-shaped floor plan. It has three altars, the main chaired by the Virgin of Belén. One of the side altars is dedicated to San Pablo and San Antonio Abad. The other is dedicated to San José. After the main altar there is access to a room where the image of the Virgin of Victories is.
Before reaching the church, on the left you can see the cemetery. It has very austere lines, the niches are whitewashed and there is no inscription indicating who is buried there.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the best-known image of the Hermitages. It is an impressive sculpture by the artist Lorenzo Coullaut Valera, who has received numerous restorations to date. It represents the image of Jesus making a gesture with his right hand forward and pointing his heart with his left hand.
The Balcony of the world
The Balcony of the world is a large esplanade in front of the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From this esplanade, we have a spectacular view of the city of Cordoba. On days that are clear you can see all the countryside and even the hills of Sierra Nevada in Granada.
The Bishop’s Chair
Next to the Balcony of the world there is a small esplanade where there is a cross and a chair carved in stone. It is the Bishop’s Chair, since Bishop Pedro Antonio de Trevilla ordered it to be built to enjoy the wonderful views.
The first of the chapels was built in 1703, following a series of 13 constructions, which were occupied until 1957, the year in which Juan Vicente de la Madre de Dios, the last hermit, died.
From that moment on, the Bishopric decided to cede the land to the religious order of the Discalced Carmelites, because of its affinity with the way of life of the hermits.
Now, the Association of Friends of the Hermitages is responsible for making contributions to be able to restore the different buildings of the complex.
Curiosities of the Hermitages
The curiosities of the Hermitages of Cordoba are many. It is a silent place that invites meditation and that is full of details. On the way to the church, there is a niche with a skull inside and the inscription: “How do you see I saw myself, how do you see me you will see, everything stops here, think about it and you will not sin”
Another of the curiosities of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is that it suffered serious damage due to the fall of two rays. The first of them fell in 1969 and three years later another ray decapitated the statue. It was not until 1986 when it was completely restored.
Finally, in the Bishop’s Chair there is a small hole where there is hardly a finger. They say that the single girls sat down and putting their finger in that hole they asked for a boyfriend to come out.
The feast of beans
Every year the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Bethlehem is celebrated in the Hermitage, better known as the feast of beans. Its main mission is to remember the dish of food that the hermits offered to the poor who came to the Hermitage with needs. The organization organizes Association of Friends of the Hermitages and it is a party that becomes more popular each year, with a large number of people coming.
At 11: 00h a mass is celebrated in honor of the Virgin and then the plates of beans in casserole are distributed to the assistants, for a small price of 2 euros. In 2019, 500 kilos of beans were prepared along with the other stew ingredients.
The collection is used in the maintenance of the Hermitages and the restoration works needed for this enclave are covered.
The timetable for visiting the chapels is as follows:
Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 to 13:30h.
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10:00 to 13:30h and from 16:30 to 18:30h.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The entrance fee is 2 euros and there is a special price of 1 euro for school groups.
The Hermitages are located in the so-called “Cerro de la Cárcel”. A place away from the city that can only be accessed by a small county road or a road.
It is reached by the Santa María de Trassierra road (CO-3314) and is 14 km from the city. Another one of the accesses by is by the call “Cuesta del Reventón”. A pedestrian path with a very irregular and quite steep floor, through which you can walk up.