It is located on the northern slope of the Pyrenees, in the middle of a rugged terrain, at the foot of the port of Ibañeta. Luzaide/Valcarlos is a municipality whose origin goes back to immemorial times, as the prehistoric remains found in the area testify. The Middle Ages began to give it its proper importance, as the area was the scene of the battle of Roncesvalles and the defeat of Roldan in the eighth century, also the ninth century brought with it the incipient pilgrimage to Santiago. In the 12th century, the land of Luzaide was donated to the Monastery of Leire, which in turn sold it to Roncesvalles in the 13th century. Valcarlos saw how the 14th century gave it a demographic expansion and a century later Carlos III separated it from the merindad de Ultrapuertos and ascribed it to the merindad de Sangüesa, then the land that the crown has in Luzaide became dependent on the Valle de Erro until at the end of the 16th century it became the Council of Valcarlos with its own town hall.
Being located on the border has made it the protagonist of numerous war events, such as during the War of the Convention in 1793 when the French invade the locality, just as it has marked its physiognomy and its territorial limits. The municipality of Luzaide/Valcarlos is made up of small neighbourhoods distant from each other, Elizaldea being the geographical and administrative centre, Pekotxeta being the neighbourhood below where shops and sales abound and Gainekoleta, where the ascent to the port of Ibañeta really begins, is the livestock district where the cheese made in a traditional way has its deserved fame. The name of this district means forge of above because there was in its lares a forge that used the mineral that was extracted in the next mines. According to documents from the 18th century, this district was then known as Ansola.
Luzaide/Valcarlos is a town in a narrow valley surrounded by forests and furrowed by numerous fast streams, protected by the steep slopes of the surrounding mountains. All this makes it possible to offer the visitor the enjoyment of nature in all its splendour. Trails and excursions that bring you closer to the dreamy landscapes of the Navarrese Pyrenees. In the main district, Elizaldea, the buildings were built around the church and on the sides of the main road. Its parish church, dedicated to Santiago Apóstol, was rebuilt between the 18th and 19th centuries, as the previous one was destroyed in the Convention War. In front of it is the first building that is said to have been built back in the year 1100, Irauzketa, on which depended the church-hospital of pilgrims from San Juan de Irauzketa. In the centre of the village there is a monument to the pilgrim. The traditional gastronomy, in which the typical dishes become essential to taste, completes the attractive visit to Luzaide/Valcarlos.
Luzaide/Valcarlos celebrates its patron saint fiestas in honour of Santiago on 25 July. On Easter Sunday, in March or April, depending on how Holy Week falls, the famous Bolantes dance is performed. And on the first Sunday in May a pilgrimage is held to the Virgin of Orreaga-Roncesvalles.
In places with such a magical environment as Luzaide/Valcarlos it is difficult to distinguish legends from mythological traditions. But just in case, it was frequent to put a wild thistle flower on the lintel of the doors of the houses as protection against necromancers and malefic beings, besides, as if it were a warning bell, if the rooster crowed before midnight was that the witches were close.
Luzaide/Valcarlos preserves some of the oldest dances in Navarre. The dances of the Bolantes, which is the name given to the dantzaris of the locality, who on the day of their fiesta, currently Easter Day, travel through the centre of the village dressed in their traditional costumes and performing various dances. An entire show of colour and rhythm that has managed to have them declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Navarre.
Legend has it that while Charlemagne was in this valley he heard the oliphant of Roland, which warned him of an imminent battle, then the Emperor came to help his nephew but found everyone dead, Charlemagne cried heartily and falling asleep an angel appeared urging him to gather all the girls of his kingdom and so, in the next battle, could avenge the cruel slaughter that had caused him so much sorrow. In this way he gathered in Valcarlos more than 50,000 girls who, dressed in armor, advanced to the Alto de Ibañeta, when the enemies glimpsed them, believed them to be a great army of warriors and came out terrified. Back to the valley the girls stopped to rest and spend the night and nailed their spears to the ground of the camp. The next morning when they woke up they saw with great astonishment how each one of their lances had become a tree forming a beautiful and leafy forest, today known as "The forest of lances".
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Luzaide/Valcarlos is in the middle of the N-135 that comes from Pamplona after passing through Roncesvalles. This same road, but in the other direction, reaches the town from nearby Arnéguy, in France, which can be reached from Saint Jean Pied de Port via the D933 departmental road.
Luzaide/Valcarlos has a bus service on Tuesdays and Fridays that connect it with Pamplona. On the other hand, in the March to November season, there is a bus service from Pamplona every day, which covers the Pamplona-Saint Jean Pied de Port route. For further information, the telephone number of the company providing the service is 902 422 242.
The nearest bus station is in Saint Jean Pied de Port.
The nearest train station is Saint Jean Pied de Port, which has daily connections with Bayonne station.
Avenue Renaud 64220 Saint Jean Pied de Port.
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8:05 h.24.8 km.
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