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A Tour of Romanesque Churches in Navarre :
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A Tour of Romanesque Churches in Navarre
A Tour of Romanesque Churches in NavarreBy car, 185 km, 1 day
Pamplona is an excellent point of departure for exploring northwestern Spain's Romanesque churches, built along the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage route. Leyre Monastery, a spiritual centre in Navarre from the 11C, is located in a magnificent natural setting. The Church of Santa María la Real de Sangüesa was a refuge for pilgrimages from the 12C. Ujué, which hasn't changed since the Middle Ages, contains a partly Gothic sanctuary. Estella, the highpoint of the journey, was chosen to be the residence of the kings of Navarre in the 12C.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
A few capitals from the portals and cloister remain from the early Romanesque church and are in the Museum of Navarre. Inside the cathedral, in front of the gate that closes the sanctuary, stands the alabaster tomb ordered in 1416 by King Charles III the Noble, founder of the cathedral, for himself and his wife. The 14C and 15C cloister houses tombs and sculptures.
Consecrated in 1057, numerous 11C Romanesque elements, such as the sober east end surmounted by a turret, a square tower, three apses and the inner chancel, are still visible in the church. However the finest architectural element is the crypt, built to support the church above. Its structure is massive and its lines pure, with capitals of unusually short shafts. The West Portal is 12C. A wooden chest contains the remains of the first kings of Navarra.
It was built in the 12C and finished in the 13C by the addition of the octagonal tower, a spire and the splendid south doorway. The latter has such an abundance of sculptures that it is astonishing for the sheer variety of subjects and the richness of their expression. Saint Francis Xavier was born in 1506 at Castillo de Javier, 7km to the northeast.
A Romanesque church was built here at the end of the 11C. In the 14C, Charles II the Bad undertook the construction of the Gothic church, although the work had to be stopped and the Romanesque choir remained. The central chapel contains a venerated statue of Santa María la Blanca, in Romanesque style and made from wood covered with silver plate. Every year since the 14C her feast day has been celebrated on the Sunday after the day of St Mark (25 April), with a traditional penitents' procession.
The origin of this Romanesque chapel, south of Pamplona and a few miles from Puente la Reina, remains unknown. It may have been a funerary chapel on the pilgrim road, as the human bones found there suggest. The outside gallery, now exposed, formerly led to adjoining buildings and was used by pilgrims as a shelter. Isolated in the middle of a field, the chapel is harmonious in proportion and design.
Along the winding streets stand whitewashed façades decorated with rounded doorways, balconies, coats of arms and sculpted corniches. At the top of the village, the Church of San Román has a polylobed 13C portal.
On the spurs of the cliff, the Church stands opposite the Palace of the Kings of Navarre. The building preserves some remarkable parts from the 12C and 13C including the doorway at the top of monumental staircase and the Romanesque cloister.