It is a beautiful town located in the geographical region called Val de Mañeru, on the Way of Saint James between Puente la Reina-Gares and Cirauqui-Zirauki. The Arga River and the Salado River are located in its municipal district. The oldest information about Mañeru dates back to Roman times and from this stage comes a statue of Mercury in bronze from the 2nd century A.D., the Roman imperial period. Then Mañeru is mentioned in the year 924 by Arib Ibn Saad on the occasion of the punishment campaign undertaken this year by Abd al-Rahman against the kingdom of Pamplona after the Vascon-Leon reconquest of Nájera and Viguera in 923. During the thirteenth century belonged to the Military Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, from whose lordship the town was liberated in the year 1555. In 1812, during the Napoleonic War, the guerrillas of Don Francisco Espoz y Mina met in Mañeru to attack the French.
It was also the scene of the first Carlist War, 1,833-1,840. In 1835, General Fernández de Córdoba evicted a few Carlist battalions from Mañeru who tried to oppose the fortification of Larraga. The second Carlist War began in the spring of 1872; on 6 October 1873 a fierce battle took place in Santa Bárbara de Mañeru, favourable to the Carlists, who at all costs wanted to seize Estella. Around 1820 the town had a mill and some brandy factories, as well as trujales. The main production was still wine and the most important industrial activity was gypsum extraction.
The town centre of Mañeru has a layout typical of a medieval town. It is organised around the squares, such as San Pedro, where the parish church is located, the Fueros square or the landing, from where narrow streets that connect or converge with the Calle Mayor start and which have such unique names as Faith, Hope, Sun or Moon and in which we can see beautiful houses with stone coats of arms that date from the 16th to the 19th century.
Mañeru also has an 18th century neoclassical fountain, and at the entrance to the village a 16th century Crucero from the last third of the 16th century. Its parish church dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle is a neoclassical building built at the end of the eighteenth century in the place where there was another older XVI-XVII centuries and that took advantage of some elements in the area of the feet, with a baroque altarpiece of the eighteenth century. We can also approach the hermitage of Santa Barbara, which is in the mountains, half an hour away.
The festivities of the Holy Relics or Big Festivities are celebrated on the first Sunday in September. The 29th of June is the feast day of San Pedro, Mañeru honours its patron saint, two days known as the "Fiestas pequeñas". The four of December commemorate the festivity of Santa Barbara, patron saint of Mañeru, saint to whom its inhabitants profess a great devotion, the hermitage, located in the mountain, is dedicated to her honour and she is climbed in pilgrimage on the first of May.
It is a tradition in Mañeru that on the evening of 7 December a large bonfire is lit in Inmaculada Street and the residents of the street open their cellars inviting Mañeru wine and various aperitifs. All this to celebrate and announce the arrival of the winter solstice.
The church of Mañeru is remarkable for the set of relics that were brought from Santa María de Nájera in 1606, carvings of the Virgin of the Rosary, Saint Barbara, San Andrés and other saints, all of them with their relics.
There is a popular belief, reaffirmed by some parish priest, that in the construction of certain churches in towns located in areas of wine production this drink was used instead of water, for mixtures with lime and for mortar, due to the large existing wine surpluses. This is what is told of the churches, including Mañeru, in towns that almost all of them are located in the Middle Zone of Navarre and not in the Ribera.
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Mañeru is reached via the A-12, the Way dual carriageway between Pamplona and Logroño.
There is a regular bus service between Logroño and Pamplona.
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