Things to see and do - Roncesvalles
The Way of St James :
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The Way of St James
The Way of St JamesBy car, 844 km, 6 days
Today, as always, whether it's by car or on foot, for religious reasons or simply for pleasure, the Way of St James offers a journey steeped in European history and culture and the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable experience.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
12C building including a hostel for pilgrims, a square funerary chapel that is now the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and a collegiate of relics. The vast buildings have grey walls and blue zinc roofs.
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.
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.
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.
The cathedral has a fine flower decoration from France and Gemany, and the exuberance of the Spanish decorative style. The main façade principale, which is remarkably decorated, has some gracious statues. Inside, works of art stand by sumptuous monuments. You will certainly appreciated the transept cross and its splendid lantern that stands 54 m above the ground, the «coro» stalls and the choir, and the treasury and its silverwork and liturgical ornaments. The Chapel of the Constable is closed by a magnificent gate and the exuberant decoration of the walls and the retable are the work of great Burgos sculptors. The side chapels, meanwhile, are true museums of gothic and plateresque art. For example, admire the magnificent gothic retable in the Chapel of Santa Ana. You will also discover the Arco de Santa Maria, a 14C crenelled gate that shows great characters from Burgos, and the Church of San Nicolas and its large retable, as well as the fine Church of San Esteban that has a charming Museum of the Retable.
Built in 1066 with large yet finely detailed stone block, this church marks an important stage in romanesque architecture in Castile. Following experiments in Palencia, Jaca and St-Isidore de Léon, it achieved perfection in its architectural arrangement. Extensive renovation in 1904 gave the church a certain shine.
Twenty three kings and queens and a large number of royal children are buried in this pantheon. It is one of the earliest examples of Romanesque art, as is illustrated by the short, thick columns crowned by capitals and decorated with plant motifs reminiscent of Asturian art. Others are beautifully historiated in tribute to Visigothic tradition. The wonderfully preserved 12C frescoes feature an outstanding collection of New Testament themes and scenes from rural life. Note the calendar of seasonal tasks inside an arch.
This Modernist interpretation (1889) of a medieval palace is by Gaudi and constructed from local materials: granite from Monte Arenas, brick from Jimenez de Jamuz and slate from Galicia. In the chapel, the building's finest setting, are sculptures, frescoes, stained glass and azulejos by French and Spanish artists who were Gaudi's contemporaries. The palace also has the Museum of the Way (dedicated to the Compostela pilgrim route).
The Catedral was built in the 11C but from the outside has all the characteristics of a baroque building.The Façade of the Obradoiro is a baroque masterpiece by Fernando Casas y Novoa dating back to 1750. The central building has some magnificent sculptures surrounded by high towers. In the narthex, the Portico de la Gloria is exceptionally beautiful and harmonious. It was made by Master Mateo at the end of the 12C. Many other delights await you inside. Typical of pilgrimage churches, this houses some sumptuous objects, such as the botafumeiro, an immense censer, the main altar with a statue of Saint Jacques, and the crypt and treasury that has a monstrance by Antonio de Arfe. Via a little lateral doorway, you can enter the rooms devoted to archaeological digs, the library, the capitulary room and the rooms in the upper gallery where tapestries designed by Goya, Bayeu, Rubens and Teniers hang. On leaving the museum, you will discover the Renaissance cloister designed by Juan de Alava. Finally, admire the Puerta de las Platerias, surrounded by the Torre del Reloj (clocktower) and the treasury tower. Opposite, the Casa del Cabildo is only baroque décor.