It is located on a hill in the town of Javier, dominating an impressive valley and almost in the muga with Aragon. The Castle of Javier dates from the X-XI centuries, Esabierre, word of the euskera, Etxeberri that means "new house" and that is where the name of Javier comes from, was an isolated defensive tower, placed strategically between the kingdoms of Navarre and Aragon. The fortress and the town that was created around it were definitively incorporated into the kingdom of Navarre when Prince Ferdinand of Aragon gave it, in 1223, to King Sancho VII of Navarra, the Fort, as a guarantee for a loan that he did not repay. In 1236 the castle was donated by King Theobald I to Adam of Sada and later the Azpilicueta and the Jasso were their lords.
But if the Castle of Javier is known for something, it is because it was the cradle and dwelling place of San Francisco Javier, born there in 1506. The Lords of Javier, María de Azpilicueta and her husband Juan Jaso defended the independence of the Navarrese kingdom and this was the reason why in 1516 Cardinal Cisneros ordered the demolition of the castle but fortunately only some tower fell down. Inheritance after inheritance the property of the fortress passed into the hands of the House of Villahermosa. At the end of the 19th century the building was in ruins but at the beginning of the 20th century and on the initiative of its owners the dukes Villahermosa-Goyeneche began its restoration giving it the appearance that it looks today, the building of the basilica was also built and later the duchess of Villahermosa on the condition that they keep them, donated them to the Society of Jesus.
The architectural ensemble formed by the castle and the basilica gives a sensation of robustness, perhaps due to the fact that they are built with perfectly carved and fitted stone. A drawbridge transports the visitor and turns him into a traveller in time, immersing him in a world of towers, parade ground, where the sound of the interbreeding of swords or the neighing of horses, dungeons can be heard...
Three towers rise up wanting to compete in height, but the one that dominates is the Homage Tower, called San Miguel, is where the castle had its origin and one of the oldest constructions of this type in Navarre. The tower of Undués once housed a small wine cellar and the tower of the Christ that houses a chapel with the Christ of the Smile, a beautiful Gothic carving in walnut wood from the 14th century. Returning to our time and outside the castle you can see the basilica, which can be accessed by a staircase, and on the tympanum of its façade are written the names of the different places visited by Francisco Javier, and in the crypt are the tombs of the Lords who reconstructed the castle. In the surroundings, a little further away and protected by a grove, the parish church, abdicated to the Annunciation of Our Lady and a baptismal font located below the choir and built in the fifteenth century, keep the memory of the baptism of the saint. This abbey was built by the parents of St. Francis Xavier to house the clergy responsible for the spiritual life of the family and the people of the village.
The Javierada is a Navarra tradition that was institutionalized in 1940. Normally the first weekend of March is a march in the direction of the Castle of Javier, it is about walking on all the last eight kilometers. But the origins of this tradition date back to 1886 when thousands of Navarrese went on pilgrimage to Javier as a prayer for the last cholera epidemic in the nineteenth century.
The town of Javier originated around the castle and its inhabitants worked the lands and livestock of the Lords of Javier and it was not until the 1960s of the last century when it was located in the place it currently occupies. The coat of arms of the Lords of Javier is currently being used as the coat of the town of Javier.
It is said that the 14th century Santo Cristo, which is in the chapel of the Christ tower in the castle, was sweating blood when St. Francis Xavier was going through some difficult time and that the last time he did so was the day he died.
The town of Javier can be reached either from Yesa, on the A-21 motorway between Pamplona and Jaca, or from Sangüesa following the NA-510 road that joins the two towns. On this road, shortly after leaving Yesa in the direction of Sangüesa, you will find the detour that leads to Javier. Javier is also reached by the CV-684 road, which connects it with the town of Undués de Lerda, already in the province of Zaragoza.
If we get to Javier from Yesa or from Sangüesa the Castle of Javier we will find it practically in the same crossing with the road that leads towards the locality, whereas if we do it from Undués de Lerda we will have to continue a little more ahead leaving behind the entrance to the locality. In the surroundings of the castle we will have ample zones of parking where to be able to leave our vehicle.
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