Pamplona, the capital city of Navarra, is probably best known to foreigners for the Running of the Bulls during the San Fermin Festival every July. The city was founded by the Romans in the first century BC, written about passionately by Hemingway, and in possession of a rich Spanish and Basque history. It had been the site of many battles and wars – fought or held by Romans, Basques, Moors, Franks, and various monarchs. As with other cities, Charlemagne also destroyed the city walls, pissing off the Basques even further… We walked the same streets that were home to the Running of the Bulls, but on this day, there were no bulls to be seen, only crowds of people. From Page 42, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days.
Now, I’ll continue my journey on the Camino de Santiago. If you have my book, I’m in the chapter, Day 2: The Bed Shook Like an Earthquake Rolling Through the Hills of Navarra. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
On my last post, On the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Zubiri to Pamplona, I showed a wonderful stone bridge in Larrasoaña, but the Magdalena Bridge was even more interesting. According to the adjacent sign, there are four medieval bridges that cross the Arga in Pamplona, and this is the most important. It has arches, called “labels,” cut-away inside the supports. This bridge resembles a grander one that I would encounter on the next day in Puente la Reina.
The Magdalena Bridge.
The stone cross or cruceiro, bearing an image of St. James, stood in front of the Magdalena Bridge. According to the adjacent sign, it was likely built in the sixteenth century.
Arga River Park, situated across the Magdalena Bridge.
The imposing city walls or ramparts were constructed in 1512 to help defend Pamplona from the French. Here, they protect the holy part of the old city.
At the French Gate, Portal de Francia, which leads to the old city of Pamplona.
Through another portal onto the Calle del Carmen.
I had long anticipated visiting Pamplona, the first city on the French Way.
The Calle del Carmen was quiet to start but had more people around the central area of the old city.
These streets are famous for the Running of the Bulls.
Fountains of various styles, sizes, and ages were found in most of the villages, towns, and cities. However, some were not working or the water was not drinkable or non-potable. I believe this one was fine.
The eighteenth century Pamplona Town Hall, a fine example of Baroque civil architecture. The Euro Residents website’s Guide to Pamplona states: “The San Fermines fiestas begin here with the famous ‘chupinazo’ (loud firework) which is set off here in front of crowds of people who fill the square in front of the town hall.”
Near the town hall, this colorful building consisted of a Farmacia and a home.
I followed the Camino through the old city, across the Calle de la Taconera, to the Portal de San Nicolás, at the entrance to the Parque de la Taconera. If I read the sign correctly, the portal was originally built the in 1666 but reconstructed in 1929.
The gardens of the Parque de la Taconera.
The Plaza del Castillo is the main square in the city, and is surrounded by many grand buildings dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It’s known as a meeting place for tourists and residents of Pamplona, and long ago, hosted bull fights.
This building was at the edge of the plaza.
According to the Council of Pamplona, Sculptures in the City web page, the Monument to the Fueros was designed by the Pamplona-born, modernist architect Manuel Martínez de Ubago, and built in 1903.
The sculpture is located just southwest of the Plaza del Castillo.
The intricate stone carving of the façade of a nearby building.
Back on the Camino, past the Parque de la Taconera, and to the Parque Vuelta del Castillo. It was more open, with lawns and scattered trees.
This ancient cruceiro stood on the grounds of the University of Navarra.
I hope you enjoyed my visit to the city of Pamplona. One year, I’ll return in July for the San Fermin Festival. On my next post, ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO: PAMPLONA TO UTERGA, SPAIN, I’ll walk through bright green farmland, see ruins of buildings and hamlets, stop for a moment to give respect for a fallen pilgrim, and then, with a storm approaching, climb to the Alto del Perdón. Please join me.
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