It is a small town located on a plain, in the central part of the Autonomous Community of Navarra within the Middle Zone of Navarre and the Valdizarbe. Olcoz is located very close to the important pass that forms the Altaitz and Perdón mountains. According to written documents, Olcoz is mentioned in the year 1146 when the abbot of the monastery of Iratxe, Pedro, exchanges with Doña Mayor de Arellano a field in Arellano for another in Olcoz. For this reason, the monastery of Irache and the cathedral of Pamplona had possessions in Olcoz since the 12th century, as did the Order of the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem since the 13th century. Until the municipal reforms of the nineteenth century was the people who elected their representatives and aldermen, had the right to present the abbot of their parish and also the church had a beneficiary who was chosen by the king or the commendatore of the order Sanjuanista. The beneficiary was the titular person who held the charge of ecclesiastical benefit that granted him rents that were usually based on religious taxes and other income derived from territorial properties linked to the benefit. The history of Olcoz runs parallel to that of Valdizarbe until it became a separate town hall in the 19th century and it was in the 20th century that the municipality of Biurrun-Olcoz was constituted, becoming then a council of the same.
The town of Olcoz has among its houses three constructions that prove its medieval past, the Romanesque church, the María Paula fountain and the 14th and 15th century palace tower. The María Paula fountain is to the south of the church. Built in the 13th century in a late Romanesque style, it is a cistern in which a cylindrical stone sculpture in the shape of a head, called María Paula, draws attention. The church of San Miguel, in its Romanesque origin from the 12th century, was rebuilt in the 17th century but it still conserves a great treasure of its primitive factory, the cover page, which is a replica and mirror of that of Santa María de Eunate. It also preserves the tower located at the foot of the temple. The medieval tower of Olcoz, located at the crossroads of north-south, east-west axes in the centre of Navarre, could date back to the 13th century and may have been the centre of connection between the nearby castles, forming part of the defence of the kingdom of Navarre. According to writings in the 15th century, Arnau de Otza was the "lord of the Olcoz tower" and his coat of arms still appears today above the gateway to the tower. The coat of arms on its left side has three pilgrim scallops, and we must not forget that Olcoz is part of the Way to Saint James.
A silent witness, the tower has been immersed in historical events that determine the kingdom. When Cardinal Cisneros, after the conquest of Navarre by the crown of Castile, ordered the towers to be flattened and castles to be demolished, this was one of the few to be saved from it. In the 17th century it belonged to the Marquis of Forte Gollano and was part of a palace complex. Its destruction came with the War of Independence when troops under the command of General Espoz and Mina to defeat the French, who had barricaded themselves in the tower, set it on fire and its interior was reduced to rubble, although its four walls remained intact. In the mid-twentieth century the tower was used as a sheep pen. Today it is completely restored and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. On its four floors are the administrative headquarters of the Council of Olcoz, an interpretation center dedicated to Romanesque, a space for projections, another floor for temporary exhibitions and from the terrace surrounded by battlements that tops the tower you can enjoy magnificent views. The visit to the tower is guided, to be informed of timetables and book the phone number is 674 209 880.
Olcoz celebrates its patron saint fiestas in honour of San Miguel on 29 September.
According to tradition, the lord of the tower, in 1556, sued and punished several residents of Olcoz for destroying the distinguished seat that his wife had in the parish church.
The doors of the churches of Olcoz and Eunate are made up of the most characteristic constellations of the Way of the Stars, defined by the Milky Way. In the interpretation centre located in the Tower of Olcoz and entitled "Eunate-Olcoz: keys to the Way to Saint James. El tesoro navarro del primer Renacimiento en el siglo XII" (The Navarrese treasure of the first Renaissance in the 12th century), you can see a complete exhibition that explains the relationship between the churches of the Crucifix of Puente la Reina, Eunate, Echano and Olcoz itself.
Legend has it that when the church of Santa María de Eunate was under construction, the Knights Templar sent a stonemason to work on the façade, who, moved by the commission, decided to take a few days off to think about the details of its construction. Noting its prolonged absence, the Templar freires entrusted the work to another stonemason, who, with the strength and skill of a mythological being, completed it in three days. When the first stonemason returned and saw that the work had already been done, he became angry and the Templars, in order to calm him down, urged him to make a new portico just as perfect and with the same celerity, which he accepted and in order to comply with the deal, he looked for a witch, who lived in the nearby forest, to ask her for help, and she told him that on the night of San Juan she would wait for the great snake that guarded the moonstone to go down to bathe in the river, then he had to take the stone, which before diving he left on the shore, and put it in a golden cup containing water from the river, with it he had to go to the door of Eunate where before he had to have placed another stone without carving, when the moon came out and after invoking it, his light reflected in the water of the cup and a little dexterity on his part, would do the rest. The next day the work appeared perfectly finished, except a few small differences was similar in every detail to the existing one, but the image seemed the one reflected in the mirror. When the first stonemason saw the copy, he got angry and, tearing out the door with his magical force, he gave it such a kick that he sent it to the church of Olcoz. It is said that the chrismon with a tau that can be seen on the front of the church of Olcoz and that does not have that of Eunate was ordered to be included by the Templar master to counteract the effects of the witch.
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Olcoz is very close to the N-121 and the AP-15 shortly after leaving Pamplona in the direction of Tudela. More specifically, it is on the NA-6020 that joins Artajona with Pamplona where we will have the detour that leads to Olcoz through asphalted tracks. Also from the NA-601 that connects the N-121 with the Autovía del Camino in Puente la Reina, we will also have different accesses that lead to Olcoz after passing through towns like Muruarte de Reta or Añorbe.
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