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Pamplona proves to us that a medieval town can be adapted to the needings of our century without damaging its integrity.|
The 16th century town-walls, which enclose wide areas of the urbanisation still today, are impressing. They are, in a way, the backbone of the town and serve to the visitor as orientation for his walks through Pamplona. Alongside them we find nice parks, wide avenues and the oldest monuments.
Pamplona and the bullfights
Let's start with Plaza de Toros, the bullring, located at the end of the town-walls close to Arga river. Its tradition has made Pamplona world-famous, not least because of the books of Hemingway. It is the location of some of Spain's most important bullfights, specially during the festival of San Fermin, a spectacular event that leads thousands of tourists to Pamplona each year.
Close to the bullring is the square of Plaza de Castillo, where bullfights took place up to 1893. Today you may visit one of the beautiful cafeterias on this square that in a way is the "heart of town", and feel like Hemingway who liked to sit in there when he was in Pamplona.
Pamplona's gothic cathedral, built between 1397 and 1530, with an 18th century neoclassical façade by Ventura Rodriguez is listed among the most important religious buildings of Spain. Most valuable is its claustrum. In the central nave there is the Kings' Mausoleum of alabaster, built in 1415.
Remarkable are as well its 15th century altar, the 14th century Barbanza chapel, the Fuente de la Cruz with the tombs of the Counts of Gades, the "Adoration by the Kings" and the relics of Holy Sepulchre and Lignum Crucis in its museum.
The Parks along the River
In the beautiful Tejera Park, close to the most monumental part of Pamplona, there are the towers of the town-walls and the square of Plaza de Santa Maria la Real, with the baroque Archieopiscopal Palais.
Following the walls you arrive to Puerta de Zumalacárregui, one of the six old doors of the town, and the Park of Santo Domingo. Close to it there is the town-hall, with a baroque façade, the Seminar of San Juan Bautista, with the Sarrasate Museum and the Town's Archive, where is conserved the famous document Fuero, a medieval privilege of 1129.
Pamplona originally consisted of three small fortificated towns ("burgos"), which frequently were in war one with each other. The King of Navarra Charles III decided in 1423 to unite them.
The churches of those three original towns are still conserved: San Cénin, from 13th century, San Nicolás, and Santo Domingo.
At the square of Plaza de los Burgos is located the Town Hall with an interesting baroque façade, certainly one of the more characteristic monuments of Pamplona. Close to it there is the church of San Saturnino.
A 15th century hospital with a beautiful plateresque portal is used as Museum of Navarra. It exposes archaeological remains from neolithic period to the Goth' epoch, extraordinary gothic wall-paintings and a valuable 11th century Moorish casket from the Monastery of Leyre. Worth visiting is as well the collection of paintings, from Goya to contemporary arts.
Going away from the river you arrive now to Taconera Park, with several monuments to famous personalities and a neoclassical Fountain of Neptune, by Luis Paret. At the end of the park there is the church of San Lorenzo, from 18th century.
A pentagonal fortification, built in 16th century, with beautiful gardens in its interior. Today the building is used frequently for exhibitions and concerts.
Fiestas and Folklore |