It stands within the urban framework of the city of Olite, in the Middle Zone of Navarra, on the banks of the river Cidacos and in an area where the mountain gives prominence to the riverbank. Although of very earlier origin, it was during the reign of Sancho VII nicknamed the Fort, at the beginning of the 13th century, when a first defensive castle was built in Olite over a Roman settlement, which was later improved under the reign of Theobald I and Theobald II, hence this first enclosure is known as Theobald Palace or Palacio Viejo (Old Palace). At that time it was already called the Palace of the King of Navarra.
The arrival to the throne of Carlos III the Noble and his wife Leonor de Trastámara made, at the end of the 14th century, the beginning of the 15th century, that this castle changed profoundly and that its aspect acquired a great beauty and relevance. New rooms were enlarged and built, with golden rooms and several galleries, whimsical towers, aviary, leonera and beautiful gardens where exotic plants proliferated. All this with a refined taste and characteristic of the royal residences of the time, becoming one of the most admired palaces in Europe. After the annexation of Navarre to the kingdom of the Catholic Monarchs in 1512, the castle began to be used as a sporadic residence of viceroys, which caused the beginning of its deterioration that culminated in the fire that totally destroyed it and which was ordered by the guerrilla Espoz y Mina during the War of Spanish Independence, in 1813, so that Napoleon's troops could not be fortified there. The monumental complex that we can admire today, made up of the Old Palace and the New Palace, is due to the restoration to which it has been subjected since 1937.
This Castle Palace of the Kings of Navarra is one of the most interesting Gothic fortresses in Europe as well as a National Monument. Of the old Palacio Viejo building, only the exterior walls are preserved, with the towers at the corners. The New Palace is the most extensive and visitable part. From the square you can see its perimeter of entrances and protruding walls with towers in the corners, you can also see the King's Gallery next to the Great Tower or Tower of Homage, the Four Winds and the Watchtower. Passing through a large courtyard, adjacent to the courtyard of the Aviary and the courtyard of the Morera, you arrive at the central nucleus of the palace where you can see the King's and Queen's chambers, the Gothic gallery, the Queen's garden and the Mudejar room. Rooms, moats, gardens... protected by high walls from which numerous towers watch over a beautiful apparent disorder, give the Castle Royal Palace of Olite a wonderful and magical silhouette that could well be that of a fairytale palace in which princesses, fairies and knights are ready to tell us their story.
The Castle Royal Palace of Olite was the scene of games, on special occasions were also held jousts and tournaments, even bullfights. Today it is the venue for the Olite Classical Theatre Festival, which is held during the last days of July and the first days of August.
A 15th-century German traveller wrote in his diary: "I'm sure there is no king who has the most beautiful palace or castle and so many golden rooms. The Royal Palace of Olite had as many rooms as the days of the year. Although mostly known as a castle is more for its courtesan construction and residential a palace.
The legend goes that from the Royal Palace there were some secret passageways and galleries that formed part of the project that Carlos III the Noble had to unite, through them, the palaces of Olite and Tafalla and that these passageways were so wide that they could horse two riders at the same time. This is the legend, the reality is that the subsoil of Olite does have medieval galleries, specifically in the Plaza de Carlos III and can also be visited and walked.
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Olite communicates with Pamplona and San Sebastian in one direction on the national road N-121 and in the other direction with Tudela and the south of Navarra. This route can also be made in both directions by the Autopista de Navarra, AP-15, from which there is a link on the N-121 near the town. Other local roads connect Olite with Peralta, San Martín de Unx and Beire. Olite has a bus stop whose service makes the journey Pamplona-Zaragoza communicating with the localities of Pamplona, Noain, Tiebas, Muruarte de Reta, Barasoain, Pueyo, Tafalla, Caparroso, Valtierra, Arguedas, Tudela, Ribaforada, Buñuel, Cortes, Mallén and Zaragoza. In addition, another daily service, at different times, also connects it with Lodosa. The railway line that connects the towns of Castejón and Alsasua also passes through Olite. Olite station, located in Estación street and with the telephone number to extend 948 130 202, has services that connect the town with Zaragoza, Pamplona, Vitoria or Tudela, among others.
Olite has several parking that will allow us to park our vehicle and then access the town center being in the main square of the town, known as Plaza de Carlos III el Noble, where we will find the entrance to the Castle Royal Palace of Olite, to make the visit.
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