It is located in the eastern part of Navarra, in the Ujué mountain range, forming part of the Olite merindad. The origins of the town of Ujué are not very clear. We know of the existence of population centres scattered throughout the area. In archaeological excavations remains of Roman buildings have been found, and in the vicinity of the La Blanca hermitage two aras dedicated to Jupiter and the indigenous deity of Lacubegi have been found. Around the 9th and 10th centuries, with the Islamic incursions, the inhabitants of the place gathered around a castle fortress built as a watchtower and frontier defence of the kingdom of Pamplona, thus turning Ujué into a historical defensive enclave. Ujué is named Santa María de Uxue and in the second half of the 11th century it was constituted as a town, coming under the tutelage of the first king of Navarra and Aragon, Sancho Ramírez, who also granted it privileges, turning it into a village realenga; the castle is enlarged and the church of Santa María is built.
Years later Ujué begins a small decadence that ceases with the arrival to the throne of the kings of the House of Evreux. Charles II the Bad and his son Charles III the Noble restore its importance by showing their admiration for the sanctuary of Ujué, organizing frequent pilgrimages to it. After stages of ups and downs in its historical importance, it was in 1482 when Ujué began to maintain a stability and a gradual growth of its population, which in subsequent centuries had to continue fighting to maintain their privileges and rights. In the nineteenth century Ujué appears in documents as one of the most prosperous towns of the Cortes of Navarra and today is a modern and current town that has not lost its identity.
Ujué is a beautiful medieval village, with an intricate network of cobbled streets and houses that have beautiful viewpoints while huddled around the fortress church of Santa María, Romanesque style of the eleventh century but reformed in the fourteenth still protected by a defensive wall in which the Navarrese Gothic is shown in all its splendor. To the north of the church is the Castillazo where you can see the remains of the university that Charles II wanted to build on the site, and a cistern. To the south of the church attracts the attention of the visitor a fourteenth century building, known as the palace of Charles II, which is the parish house and has two spectacular balconies supported by large stone corbels. Continuing with the promenade, in the lower part of the village is located the church of San Miguel, today in ruins; it is a Gothic construction of the XIII century in which vestiges of the Romanesque in its main facade remain. And on the outskirts of Ujué is the hermitage of La Blanca, dating back to the 13th century, although it was later rebuilt. At a crossroads and welcoming us, at the entrance to the town, you will find the Cross of the Greeting, from the 14th century. But Ujué is also synonymous with rich and traditional gastronomy, not without reason its Migas de Pastor are more than famous and must be tasted.
Ujué celebrates its patron saint fiestas on 8 September, in honour of the Nativity of Our Lady. On 15 May San Isidro Labrador is honoured. The day of the migas is celebrated on the third Sunday in September and on the first Saturday in June the ujuetrarras go on pilgrimage to the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Blanca, where the primitive Uxue was located.
In Ujué the pilgrimages to the sanctuary made by the villages of the area are traditional. One of the oldest was the one that in 1043 the residents of Tafalla made to Ujué to thank the Virgin for her victory in the battle against the king of Aragon. Another important pilgrimage takes place on the Sunday following the festivity of San Marcos; the pilgrims go to the sanctuary, some of them according to an ancestral tradition, with their faces covered and dressed in a black tunic.
One of the first accounts of Ujué comes from Al-Himyarí, when speaking of the fortresses that formed the defence system of the Kingdom of Pamplona, he writes "Another locality, named Santa María, is the first of the fortresses that form part of the defensive system of Pamplona. It is the most solidly built and occupies the highest position". Today the town is an invaluable lookout point over the Pyrenees, the banks of the Cidacos and the Ebro, and the Moncayo.
Legend has it that while a shepherd was guarding his flocks, he saw how a pigeon entered and exited a hole in a rock as if to attract the boy's attention. When he realized it and moved by curiosity, he climbed to the top and was surprised when he discovered the image of a Virgin. He went down to the village and counted it among his countrymen who, once the fact had been verified, decided to settle in the place, abandoning its primitive location, in order to care for and venerate the Virgin in the place she had chosen, thus giving birth to the village of Ujué.
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Access to Ujué can be found on the NA-5311 road that links San Martín de Unx with Murillo del Fruto, a town near Carcastillo and Santacara in the south of Navarre. Once there, we will have several areas fitted out as car parks.
Ujué has a daily bus service that connects you with Pamplona, Olite, Tafalla and different towns along the route.
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