The name of the monastery, Valvanera, comes from a Latin expression "Vallis Venaria" which means "Valley of the veins of water" because it is a valley with abundant fountains, streams and waterfalls.
The construction of the sanctuary had its origin in the discovery of an image of Santa María from the 9th century by a repentant thief named Nuño Oñez, as related in the "Latin History" written by the Abbot of Valvanera, Don Rodrigo de Castroviejo in the year 1419.
It is the translation into Latin of a 13th century text possibly written by Gonzalo de Berceo in the "mother vulgar" language. he primitive monastery built around the found image and made up of hermits gave way in the 10th century to Benedictine monks. In its origin there was a Visigothic church, then a pre-Romanesque one consecrated in 1073, another Romanesque in 1183 of which only one tower remains and finally, the current 15th century church.
In the main altar of the church is the dressing room of the Virgin of Valvanera which can be accessed from the side. The upper part is presided over by a Christ Majesty "Pantocrator" and below the images of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Benedict and Saint Athanasius.
The rest of the monastery is made up of 20th century buildings in honor of the Patron Saint of La Rioja. The one that is worshiped under the invocation of Valvanera is the most important carving. The author or the date on which it was made is not known, but due to its characteristics it seems to be a Byzantine-Visigothic style sculpture. Its origin is situated in the context of the renewed Marian fervor that took place in Spain in the first half of the 9th century.