The Province of Navarre is situated in the north of Spain, between the provinces of Huesca, Saragossa. Logrono, Alava and Guipuzcoa, and the French border. It has been described as a 'miniature continent' since, in just 10,420 kmsq., one can find such a rich variety of countryside, scenery and people.
The countryside ranges from the north-eastern valleys with their mild climate, or the foothills of the Pyrenees, to the fertile plains in the south, where the climate is drier and more extreme. This former kingdom became part of the Crown of Castile in 1515 following the Conquest of Pamplona, although the Navarrese kept their own regional law code and institutions which were later brought into line with the constitutional regime.
The name Pamplona is derived from that of the Roman general Pompey, who encamped on a hill next to the river Arga in the winter of the years 75-74 B.C.
This hill was possibly the site of a primitive Basque village and it was from here that the city of Pamplona developed. The city became an Episcopal See in the 6th century, and in the Middle Ages it was divided into three districts or 'burgs' (La Navarreria. San Nicolas and San Cernin). These districts had their own walls and very often there were confrontations between them.
However, in 1423, Carlos III ('the noble') decreed they should be united forever under the Concession of Union.
For several centuries it was under the control of the Moors, and these have left their mark in the city's winding streets. The Cathedral was built between the 12th and 13th century and, among its many interesting artistic details, the most important are the Proto-Gothic entrance known as the Puerta del Juicio, and the 18th-century Chapel of Santa Ana with magnificent Baroque decoration.
A visit to Tudela would be incomplete without trying its famous vegetable soup, made from the most delicious vegetables of the province.
Some of its finest monuments include the Church of San Pedro de la Rua and the Royal Palace. The latter is the only example of a civil Romanesque construction in Navarra, and on one of its capitals the legendary battle between Roldan of France and the giant Ferragut is depicted. Near Estella can be found the artistic Monasteries of Irache and Iranzu.