It is located on a plateau in the centre of Navarre and surrounded by a mountain belt with altitudes of around a thousand metres. In the first millennium B.C. there was already a first settlement of Basques in the place now occupied by the city, possibly hence the origin of the name Iruña, in Basque "the city". The Roman general Pompey Magno founded the city according to the Roman urban model in 75 B.C. and gave it its name, Pompaelo.
Between the 4th and 9th centuries it succumbed to the power of Visigoths and Muslims. In the 10th century, the nobles gave birth to the Kingdom of Pamplona. By donation of Sancho Garcés II, in gratitude to God for the help in the struggles against the Muslims, and during more than three hundred years, the lord of Pamplona was not the king but the bishop. At the end of the 11th century and during the 12th century, three burghs or population centres were formed, each with its own jurisdiction and privileges and, of course, with its own preferences, giving rise to constant internal struggles, until King Charles III the Noble united them and transformed them into a single entity. In the 16th century and during the following three centuries, Pamplona-Iruña became a frontier against possible invasions and the Citadel and the new walled enclosure gave it an image of Pamplona-fortress. Napoleon's troops were the only ones to enter the Citadel. Until 1915, when part of its walls were destroyed, the city was completely fortified.
Monuments with history must be visited, such as the Town Hall, whose location in the centre of the Old Quarter is no coincidence, because it is located where in 1423 King Charles III ordered the construction of the first Town Hall as a symbol of the union of the three independent burghs, Navarrería, San Cernin and San Nicolás, which formed Pamplona. Since then the Town Hall has changed its appearance but not its location. The palace of Navarre, located next to the Castle Square, a mid-19th century building. The walled enclosure, strolling between century-old walls and cobbled streets evoking times of yesteryear, the Cathedral of Santa María La Real, the church-fortress of San Nicolás, the church of San Cernín.
If we follow the route of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago from the moment it crosses the Arga through the Bridge of La Magdalena and enters through the gateway to France, it takes us to the oldest part of the city. Rest in parks and gardens, in La Taconera, which are the oldest gardens in the city or in the heart of the city centre, the Citadel, a true green lung or in the river park, and then savour its delicious pintxos. It is highly recommended to take a walk late in the morning and on weekends through the streets Estafeta, Navarrería or San Nicolás, located in the heart of the city, where bars offer a wide variety of miniatures whose flavors will fall in love with any palate.
The festivities par excellence and the best known in the whole world is the Sanfermines, which lasts a week. It begins on July 6th with the traditional chupinazo. In the following days the running of the bulls will make us vibrate with the impressive spectacle of skill, bravery and dexterity of the runners in front of the bulls. But there are also the winter festivals: San Blas and Santa Águeda. On the 8th of September the Privilege of the Union is celebrated, which commemorates a historical event that shaped the city of Pamplona/Iruña, as it is today. San Fermín is celebrated again on 25 September in the fiesta of San Fermín de Aldapa, in the neighbourhood of La Navarrería; they are "small sanfermines", with special events for children and in which their own "poor me" is even sung. And on 29 November Pamplona/Iruña honours San Saturnino with institutional acts and a parade in which the classic giants are not lacking.
For San Blas, on February 3, there is a pastry market typical of the dates, which is mounted around the Church of San Nicolas, whose specialties are blessed to supposedly alleviate the evils of the throat. In addition, the 4th of February is the day of Santa Águeda, which is celebrated with a beautiful tradition: the choral groups go out at night into the streets to sing the traditional songs about the saint in Basque, accompanied by sticks (makilas) with which they beat the ground rhythmically.
It is asserted that St. Saturnin was the first evangelizer of the city along with his Honest disciple. Saturninus, who was bishop of Toulouse, moved to Pamplona/Iruña, according to some towards the I century and others that if it took place in the III century, preached in the place where there was a sacred grove of poplars or cypresses and a temple dedicated to the goddess Diana. There, where the church of San Cernin or San Saturnino stands today, there was a well from which he extracted the water with which he baptised the new converts he achieved. The pocico, which occupies the centre of the street next to the aforementioned parish church, at the beginning of the main street, is under a plaque with the following inscription: "Here is the well with whose water, according to tradition, Saint Saturnino baptised the first Christians in this city".
The red handkerchief is a typical feature of the San Fermín festivities costume, so much so that tradition says that you can wear it knotted around your neck only during the festivities, so before launching the rocket people carry it on their wrist, in their pocket or in their hand, and wobble it in the air when the person in charge of inaugurating the festivities shouts: "Viva San Fermín, Gora San Fermín". According to a religious theory, the red handkerchief is an interpretation that people make of the custom of priests wearing red for ceremonies in honor of holy martyrs who have died for their beliefs. In the case of the feasts in honor of San Fermín they do so because he suffered martyrdom. Other people of Pamplona relate it more to the Vow of the Five Wounds. This was established in 1599 as a thanksgiving for the eradication of a plague epidemic that killed a third of the population of Pamplona. It was more effective than the medicines -which were not available- placing a seal with the representation of the Five Wounds of Christ on the chest of the sick. Given the effectiveness of the measure and in gratitude, the authorities of the City decided to perpetually celebrate this vote called "of the Five Wounds". The representation of these wounds is very similar to that of a handkerchief around the neck.
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Pamplona-Iruña can be reached via the A-15, this motorway starts in the south of Navarre between Tudela and Alfaro, on the AP-68 that connects Bilbao with Zaragoza, to get through Pamplona-Iruña to San Sebastian-Donostia. The N-121 follows the same route from Pamplona-Iruña to Tudela. In Pamplona-Iruña, the A-15 or Autovía del Camino begins, linking the city with Logroño, among others. The A-21 or Pyrenean Motorway also begins, which connects it with Jaca. From Vitoria-Gasteiz, take the A-10. The N-121-A and the NA-135 join it with France via Behovia via the port of Velate one and via Valcarlos via Roncesvalles-Orreaga the other.
Pamplona-Iruña has daily connections with the different capitals of the peninsula. There are also lines linking the city with the main towns in Navarre.
Yanguas and Miranda Street, 2
31003 Pamplona/Iruña, Navarra
The train station is located in the San Jorge neighbourhood, not far from the city centre, and has regular lines with Alicante, Alsasua, Barcelona, Burgos, Coruña, Irún, Hendaya, León, Lugo, Madrid, Orense, Oviedo, Palencia, San Sebastián, Valencia, Vigo, Vitoria and Zaragoza. To get there from the south you have to change trains in Madrid.
Plaza de la Estación, s/n
31012 Pamplona/Iruña, Navarra
The airport is located in Noáin, about seven kilometres from Pamplona/Iruña, with daily flights to different destinations.
Zaragoza Road, Km 5
31110 Noáin, Navarra
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