Orreaga in Euskera, is located in the Navarrese Pyrenees, in a beautiful enclave at the foot of the port of Ibañeta, where the mountain range begins to give us reference to the greatness of its peaks. Roncesvalles-Orreaga is a natural passageway, used since prehistoric times to access the peninsula, as does the French Santigo Way. Celts and barbarians entered here in 409, the Goths who settled along the Duero basin, and naturally King Charlemagne with the most powerful army of the 8th century. At the beginning of the 10th century, with the already consolidated Christian monarchy, the transit of pilgrims became more intense and safe.
Therefore, at the beginning of the 12th century, the Bishop of Pamplona, Sancho de la Rosa, decided to promote and create a hospital in the vicinity of Roncesvalles, for the care and attention of pilgrims. The 13th century was of great importance and splendour for Navarre, and that of Roncesvalles was one of the richest and most generous hospitals on the entire Jacobean route. The innumerable revolts and events of the 19th century were also suffered by Roncesvalles-Orreaga, but today, life and history coexist with the innumerable pilgrims and visitors it receives and hosts on a daily basis.
The monumental complex of the Collegiate Church of Orreaga-Roncesvalles, former pilgrims' hospital and tomb of King Sancho VII el Fuerte, was built at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries. The access esplanade leads us to the Priory House and the Library Museum and then passing through a small tunnel with a lowered vault, we find the main constructions. Its church, dedicated to Santa María de Roncesvalles, was burned and rebuilt around 1,400. It is considered one of the first Gothic temples in Spain.
The chapel of San Agustín, that of the Holy Spirit or that of Santiago, have withstood the passage of time or have been updated. The Roncesvalles Museum houses various paintings and sculptures, as well as valuable samples of goldsmithery. We can also relax in the surroundings of Orreaga-Roncesvalles as there are places, very advisable, to walk and discover the traces that the people who have populated these lands have left behind.
In Orreaga-Roncesvalles every August 15th, the cruel battle is remembered in which, that same day but in the year 778, the rearguard of the army of Emperor Charlemagne found his death in the thorny woods of "Ronzesbal". On Sundays in May and June, pilgrimages are held from the villages in the area to the collegiate church of Santa María de Roncesvalles. On 8 September the Day of the Virgin of Roncesvalles, patron saint of the municipality, is celebrated.
The Chapel of the Holy Spirit is also known as "Charlemagne's Silo", as tradition identifies it with the burial that the Frankish king ordered built for his great friend Roland and the other knights killed in the battle of Roncesvalles.
Through Ibañeta and Roncesvalles enters the so-called French Way, which merges in the town of Obanos, very close to Puente la Reina, with the other coming from the port of Somport in Huesca, also in the Pyrenees, is known by Aragonese Way. The small and simple chapel of Santiago, Gothic, located next to the Silo of Charlemagne, conserves a singular element, the bell coming from the old chapel of Ibañeta, where it served as a hopeful appeal for the pilgrims who ascended the north face of the Pyrenees.
Legend has it that the 14th century image of Santa María de Roncesvalles, a Gothic wood carving covered with silver, appeared miraculously because of the nocturnal announcement of a deer on whose horns two stars shone. This deer came down from the mountain to a spring that the shepherds knew as the fountain of the Peñas and when it disappeared everything was submerged in the darkest darkness and a celestial canticle was heard, something similar to a Salve Regina. The news spread like wildfire to the ears of the bishop of Pamplona who, after checking it, ordered the excavation of the site and there appeared under a wall similar to an arch, on a pedestal, the beautiful image of the Virgin with the Child on her knees. A small hermitage was built on the site, which over time has given rise to the present basilica.
Access to Orreaga-Roncesvalles through the Esteríbar valley from Pamplona-Iruña can be made directly by the N-135 towards France via Zubiri. An alternative route to avoid the port of Erro is to go to Aoiz on the NA-150 and continue from there on the NA-172 which converges with the road from Orreaga-Roncesvalles. From the other side and also by the N-135 we arrive via Valcarlos from Saint-Jean Pied de Port.
There is a bus service from Monday to Saturday that covers the Pamplona/Iruña-Roncesvalles/Orreaga line, which is extended in summer to coincide with the largest number of pilgrims.
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Espectacular el entorno, preciosos los paisajes!!!
8:05 h.24.8 km.
10:00 h.501 km.