It is located on a small hill in the middle of Navarre, on the banks of the river Cidacos, in an area where the mountain gives prominence to the riverside. It is known that Olite-Erriberri was populated by the Romans in the first century AD and protected by walls, although the place was already inhabited in prehistoric times. In 621 the Goth king Suintila turned it into his stronghold and called it Oligicus or Ologite. But it was not until centuries later that Olite began to have real importance, in the twelfth century the king of Navarre García IV Ramírez, the Restorer, gave it its first jurisdiction, the Fuero de los francos de Estella, which led to the expansion of the town, giving it the concession of cultivated land, private jurisdiction and significant tax advantages.
A century later Teobaldo II grants Olite fifteen days of annual fair. In addition, the town becomes the venue for the celebration of the Cortes. After a time of chiaroscuro, Olite begins a period of splendour, becoming one of the favourite places for the kings of Navarre to establish their residence. In the 15th century King Charles III the Noble and his wife Leonor of Trastámara built the Royal Palace of Navarre in Olite, which from 1407 until the First Carlist War was the capital of the merit of its name. Felipe IV granted it the title of city in the year 1630. The beginning of the 19th century was marked by serious communal problems and the agrarian cooperative phenomenon. Curiously enough, the first cooperative in Navarre and the third in Spain were founded in Olite.
To enter the streets of Olite is to be impregnated with a medieval flavour and to admire, step by step, its palace houses built in the 14th and 15th centuries by the noble families of Navarre, such as the Marques de Rada, presided over and protected by the towers of the fabulous castle-palace of the Kings of Navarre, from the 15th century, which together with the town hall of the year 1950, the Chapitel Tower or Clock Tower and the tower of the church of Santa María la Real, give Carlos III's square a majestic physiognomy. Next to the 13th-century Gothic church of Santa María, which has an impressive 14th-century façade and a beautiful 15th-century cloister, in the Plaza de los Teobaldos is the Old Palace, which dates back to Roman times. Of Romanesque style, although restored and enlarged during the Baroque period, is the church of San Pedro, located on rúa Mayor, the oldest church in Olite.
The walled, Roman and medieval enclosures, the medieval galleries, the convents of San Francisco and Santa Engracia, the Monastery of Santa Clara, which was the convent of the hospitals of San Antón... led Olite-Erriberrri to be declared a Site Historic and Artistic. Olite is also the "Wine Capital of Navarre", so tasting its rich wines and pairing them with its good gastronomy, to end up enjoying its mantecadas and ensaimadas, the visitor to this beautiful city cannot miss. Olite also offers a well-kept natural environment. Nearby is the Pitillas lagoon, with a bird observatory and, on the other side of the river Aragón, the Monasterio de la Oliva, and on Mount Encinar, where the Santa Brígida hermitage stands with Gothic wall paintings, you can enjoy a peaceful forest of holm oaks and beautiful panoramic views.
Olite celebrates its patron saint fiestas in honour of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in mid-September. On the Saturday closest to the 22nd of May, a pilgrimage is held in Olite to the hermitage of Santa Brígida, on Mount Encinar. The Virgin of Cholera is celebrated on 26 August. The Fiesta de la Vendimia (Grape Harvest Festival) is celebrated in the town on the first weekend in September.
Olite returns to the Middle Ages in its traditional Medieval Festivals that are held in August and in which its people return to be kings and princesses, minstrels, buffoons and artisans. In which the Antaño Market offers its artisan products, and the streets and alleys wear their best clothes of the time and are filled with the hustle and bustle of taverns, parades, farces and medieval coplas.
Olite lived its splendour with Charles III the Noble, who adorned its gardens and orchards with Alexandria jasmine, grapefruit, citron and other plants never before seen in Europe. The municipality of Olite is crossed by the GR I which is a historic long-distance path linking Ampurias in Gerona with Finisterre in La Coruña.
The patron saint of Olite is the Virgin of Cholera. The origin of this feast is to be found in the year 1885 when according to legend the residents of Olite took the image of the Virgin in procession to protect them from the epidemic of cholera that was ravaging the territory and the Virgin answered their prayers freeing them from such a serious disease.
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Olite-Erriberri communicates with Pamplona and San Sebastián in one direction on the national road N-121 and in the other direction with Tudela and the south of Navarre. 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-Erriberri has a bus stop that makes the journey Pamplona-Zaragoza communicating with the localities of Pamplona, Noáin, Tiebas, Muruarte de Reta, Barasoain, Pueyo, Tafalla, Caparroso, Valtierra, Arguedas, Tudela, Ribaforada, Buñuel, Cortes, Mallén and Zaragoza. In addition, another daily service also connects it with Lodosa at different times of the day.
The railway line that connects the towns of Castejón and Alsasua passes through Olite-Erriberri. 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..
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