Lizarra in Euskera, is halfway between Pamplona and Logroño, set in a meander of the river Ega, surrounded by mountains such as Montejurra, Peñaguda, Cruz de los Castillos, Santa Bárbara and Belástegui, which soften its climate protecting it from the wind and being an obligatory passage for pilgrims on the French Way. Formerly there was a village called Lizarra, located on a hill. Estella was founded in 1990 by Sancho Ramírez. The Pilgrim's Way to Santiago also passed through here, and it was this same year that the San Pedro district was created, obtaining privileges from Sancho el Sabio.
In 1237 Estella Cortes was celebrated to establish the jurisdictions of Navarre, living in this stage a true splendour, growing the city and emerging the other two neighborhoods of San Miguel and San Juan. The 3 nuclei were united in 1266. In the 14th century there was a persecution against the important Jewish community of the city, the third of the kingdom after Pamplona and Tudela. After joining Castile, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs and in the time of Cisneros, its fortress was destroyed. In the 19th century and after the War of Independence it became the epicentre of the Carlist Wars. Today, although it has undergone the urban change that prosperity and today's society need, it has managed to maintain its clearly medieval presence.
The natural environment that surrounds and accompanies the town gives us the opportunity to take great walks, hike, look out over the great chasms and caves that exist in the mountains of Urbasa and Andia or enjoy a dip in the natural swimming pool, salt water and medicinal properties that is on the banks of the river Ega. But also, if you want to visit a real museum, let's take a quiet stroll through Estella-Lizarra, to find Romanesque and Gothic jewels, apart from the important buildings that the Way of Saint James has contributed. The Palace of the Kings of Navarre, from the 12th and 13th centuries, is located in the Plaza San Martín, where we will quench our thirst with the water from the fountain of the 16th century jets, which currently houses the Gustavo de Maeztu Museum.
Casonas and palaces such as those of Eguía, from the 16th century, that of the Governor and the mansion of the Ruiz de Ayala family, both from the 17th century, old Gothic arches of the hospederías del Camino, its Calle Mayor, the square of Fueros, the square of Santiago, the medieval gate of Castilla, the bridge of San Martín or the bridge of El Azucarero, the one of La Cárcel, the old town hall. We are struck by a steep staircase crowned by the largest church in the town, San Pedro de la Rúa, late Romanesque style with more than eight centuries of history and in which Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements come together to give it greater splendor, has an unforgettable cloister. On Curtidores Street, the old Pilgrims' Street, is the temple of the Holy Sepulchre with a marvellous 14th century façade considered one of the most beautiful in Navarre. The churches of San Juan Bautista, Santa María Jus del Castillo, the old synagogue, Nuestra Señora de Rocamador and Nuestra Señora del Puy. On a steep rock called La Mota, the church of San Miguel is reached. And to replenish your strength, taste the typical sweets such as the Conchas del Camino, the Alpargatas, which is a puff pastry, the Rocas del Puy or the Sanchicos.
Its patron saint fiestas begin on the Friday before the first Sunday in August. On 25 May Estella honours the Virgen del Puy, co-patron saint of the town; at the end of July it becomes an authentic medieval town for a week. In addition to different typical fairs and cultural acts that complete its offer of leisure and rest.
Tradition has it that in the cloister of San Pedro de la Rúa there is a tomb in which lie the remains of the bishop of Patrás, in the Greek region of Achaia, who made a pilgrimage to Santiago with a box in which he carried a scapula of San Andrés that he wanted to offer to the Apostle. It seems that he died in Estella without anyone knowing who he was, being buried, unregistered, in the cloister of San Pedro. The sacristan, seeing at night games of lights on the tomb gave notice and unearthed the body being found among his pilgrim clothes his true identity as well as the relic he carried, along with the handle of a staff and some silver vinegars. The relics are kept since then in this church where the bishop was buried again. San Andrés and the Virgen del Puy are the two patrons of Estella.
In the 15th century it was known as Estella la bella and today it still honours the nickname of Toledo to the north for its palaces, stately homes, churches, convents, bridges and beautiful buildings.
According to the story, the shepherds of Abárzuza watched as some stars landed, night after night, at the entrance of a grotto covered by bushes, moved by curiosity, they approached and found an image of the virgin. They warned the clergy of the village and these in turn to the bishop of Pamplona, who warned King Sancho Ramírez, who was in the fence of Toledo, and he ordered the Virgin to go down to the church of Lizarra, but they could not move her from where they found her. Understanding that Our Lady's desire was to remain in that place, he ordered a chapel and a house to be built next to the grotto for the king and for the pilgrims. In commemoration, a humble place was also built on the site, which was demolished in 1964. The Estellese took so seriously the desire of the Virgin not to move from the place, that alone and to conjure up a cholera epidemic, in 1631 they lowered it for the first time from their altar and carried it in procession to the locality they had three days in each of the three main parishes, and the epidemic ceased. The image of the Virgin of Puy is a Gothic image that hides, in the box of its neck, a small silver chest with ashes.
MORE ROUTES AVAILABLE, DON'T MISS IT...
MORE PLACES AVAILABLE, DON'T MISS IT...
The Autovía del Camino A-12, connects Estella-Lizarra with Pamplona and Logroño, as an alternative to this route the old N-111 still serves to access nearby towns. The N-120 joins it directly with San Sebastián via the port of Lizárraga, which can also be done from Pamplona. The N-132-A arrives from Vitoria and following the N-312 we will arrive from the A-15 at Tafalla.
The city centre can be reached by direct bus from Pamplona, Logroño, San Sebastián, Zaragoza... as well as interurban lines that connect many towns in the Autonomous Community of Navarre. The bus station is located in Plaza de la Coronación, 1.
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