Roncesvalles Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Oleg_D.
  • Things to Do
    by Oleg_D.
  • Things to Do
    by Oleg_D.

Most Recent Things to Do in Roncesvalles

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    The new Hospital.

    by Oleg_D. Written Feb 17, 2013

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    The new hospital or Albergue de Peregrinos was built between 1802-1807. Unfortunately, previous hospital built in XII century hasn’t survived. We can see only some remains of al medieval hospital. That Albergue was opened in 2011 and is funded by the government of Navarre. There are four floors with bunk beds in cubicles of four and all necessary facilities such as toilets, shower cabins kitchen, storage room for the pilgrim shoes and etc.
    You can start your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from here and get your Credencial (Passport of Pilgrim) here.
    Price is 5 euros for one night.
    Pilgrim’s office works daily 10:00-13:30 and 16:00-19:00

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    The Chapel of Holly Spirit. Part II.

    by Oleg_D. Updated Feb 17, 2013

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    The Chapel of Holly spirit is also known as the Espirito Santo, Capila Sancti Spiritus or Silo de Carlomagno is the XII century chapel with ossuary. Some legends state that the Frankish warriors killed in the battle of Roncesvalles in 778 were buried here and that fact was the reason to built that chapel. Some scientists and researchers say that is very doubtful and the Chapel of Holly Spirit was built in XII century. Pilgrims and Augustinian canons that died in Roncesvalles used to be buried here. Anyway the Chapel of Holly Spirit is the oldest building in Roncesvalles. Guided tour to the Chapel of Holly Spirit is included in the price of museum ticket.
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    The window to the ossuary. If you have a look there then pray for them. Statue of unidentified saint and symbolic recluse. Symbolic recluse.
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    The Chapel of Holly Spirit.

    by Oleg_D. Updated Feb 17, 2013

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    The Chapel of Holly spirit is also known as the Espirito Santo, Capila Sancti Spiritus or Silo de Carlomagno is the XII century chapel with ossuary. Some legends state that the Frankish warriors killed in the battle of Roncesvalles in 778 were buried here and that fact was the reason to built that chapel. Some scientists and researchers say that is very doubtful and the Chapel of Holly Spirit was built in XII century. Pilgrims and Augustinian canons that died in Roncesvalles used to be buried here. Anyway the Chapel of Holly Spirit is the oldest building in Roncesvalles. Guided tour to the Chapel of Holly Spirit is included in the price of museum ticket.
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    From 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
    From Nov 01 to Mar 31
    From Monday to Sunday
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    From 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
    Closing period
    From Jan 06 to Jan 31

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    The Saint James Chapel.

    by Oleg_D. Written Feb 16, 2013

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    The Santiago (Saint James) Chapel.
    This is the small early gothic chapel built in XIII century. If you bought the ticket to museum then guided tour to that chapel is included in the price. There is nothing special inside the chapel except the statue of Santiago (Saint James) and windows where you can see grinded stone instead the glass. It was used as the parish church until the XVIII-th century.
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    From Nov 01 to Mar 31
    From Monday to Sunday
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    From 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
    Closing period
    From Jan 06 to Jan 31

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    Collegiata Real de Santa Maria. Museum.

    by Oleg_D. Written Feb 16, 2013

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    Museum.
    There is small museum in the Collegiate Church. Well, small doesn’t mean bad or inferior. Of course this is no Metropolitan or State Hermitage this is just different and possesses its own rarities. You can see the emerald captured by King Sancho VII from Almohad Sultan in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. At least legends say so. Modern scientists revealed that this particular emerald was produced from Peruvian mine in XVII century. What does it mean? I believe that illustrious king in fact captured the emerald but his successors just squandered it and later the original emerald was replaced by this one. That fact hasn’t diminished the glory of Sancho the Strong in my eyes.
    Then you can see a lot of statues and reliquaries. The most interesting and most famous reliquary is the so-called Charlemagne’s chessboard”. It doesn’t relate to Charlemagne and was made in XIV century in the form of the chessboard. It has many icons of different saints and pieces of holy relics. So, I can imagine it was invaluable six hundred years ago and even now.
    There is also altar or triptych with the scenes of Christ Passions. Some people attribute that altar to Hieronymus Bosch on his early days. This is only the speculation but that altar is painted in the style and techniques of Burgundian (Flemish) school. This is the real masterpiece.
    Museum has two flail maces in the permanent exhibition and museum relates those flail maces to the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, 1212. That’s correct because they are looking like typical for XIII century. During the Middle Ages they were hanging in the Santa Maria Church and monks mistakenly related them to Count Roland and the battle in the Roncesvalles Pass. Otherwise those flail maces were hanging in the altar of Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles for several centuries and several generations of pilgrims were fed with the fairy tales about those maces belonged to the Count Roland. The sober research of modern scientists showed that they belong to the beginning of XIII century.
    Visitors were not allowed to take pictures in the museum but Spanish and Basques tourists took the pictures. So, I just followed their bad example and maybe I was too sneaky photographer or authorities turned the blind eye on Russian pilgrim but I made several high quality pictures.

    Roland's monument and museum behind it. Emerald Altar, first quarter of XVI c. Flail maces
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    Collegiata Real de Santa Maria. The St. Augustine

    by Oleg_D. Written Feb 16, 2013

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    The St. Augustine Chapel.
    In the centre of the chapel stands the sepulcher of Sancho VII "The Strong" which was installed in 1912, the date when the chapel was renovated to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Only the upper slab with the effigy of Sancho is the parts of original tomb of the King, who died in Tudela in 1234. Sancho’s remains have been exhumed for study and examined by the physician Luis del Campo, also the king's biographer, who measured him at 2.23 meters tall (7'3" feet). So, what was his story? In 1211, Muhammad al-Nasir the Almohad ruler had crossed the Strait of Gibraltar with a powerful army and invaded the Christian Kingdoms. He captured the stronghold of the Calatrava Knights in Salvatierra. After this, the threat was so great for the Christian kingdoms that Pope Innocent III called European knights to a crusade. Combined Christian forces of Kingdoms of Castilia, Aragon and Navarre including French and Leonese volunteers met Moorish army at Las Navas de Tolosa. Early morning on July 16, 1212 Christians suddenly attacked the Moorish fortified camp. Navarese forces under Sancho were deployed at the right wing, that’s was special honor, they attacked the tent of Muhammad al-Nasir. Legends say that the ruler’s tent was defended by the slave warriors chained with the chain to each other. Probably they were no slaves but so-called Christian Guardsmen brought under strength by the Renegade Christians converted to Islam. They always preferred to die than surrender. Probably chain was put just as the barrier. There is only one important thing obvious for me if Sancho failed to break through these guardians and to tear apart that chain with his bare hands then sooner or later Moors could defeat Christians by sheer numbers. Moorish Guardsmen and their ruler were so demoralized by the Giant King tearing the huge chains with his bare hands and smashing the skulls that they just fled from the battle field. That flee of Muhammad al-Nasir involved all his army in the chaotic rout.
    For this, it is believed, the chains became the symbol of Navarre and replaced the sable eagle on a golden field with a golden chain on a gules field with the green emerald in the center in the Navarese coat-of-arms.
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    Tomb of Sancho VII Tomb of Sancho VII Sancho tore apart this chain Sancho tore apart this chain Sancho leads Navarese Forlorn Hope!
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    Collegiata Real de Santa Maria, Interior.

    by Oleg_D. Updated Feb 16, 2013

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    The Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary was built at the behest of Sancho VII the King of Navarre known as El Fuerte (The Strong). Church was built at the beginning of XIII century but was consecrated in 1219 only after the death of King Sancho.
    You can attend the pilgrim’s mass every day at 20:00 hours.
    The interiors of the church are built in the early Gothic style but the Romanesque style left its influence and that is still visible. There is XIV century statue of Our Lady of Roncesvalles in the church.

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    The XIV c. statue of Our Lady of Roncesvalles
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    Collegiata Real de Santa Maria. The Cloisters.

    by Oleg_D. Written Feb 16, 2013

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    The ground floor of the cloisters was built in XIII century and survived nowadays. It is austere and beautiful. Upper floor was rebuilt between 1615 and 1661 because its roof and upper floor itself partially were collapsed under weight of snow in 1600. Several burial niches with pointed arches have been discovered embedded in the walls of the cloister, the remains of the original Gothic cloister. There is tomb of Sir Enel Omorio the Knight who died on December 3, 1393. Senior Enel has been shown in full plate armor typical for the third decade of XV century. That probably means his relatives were not very rich and collected money necessary to pay for that tomb only in two decades after his death. For me this is the very valuable source of information on the armor of first quarter of XV century.
    From the cloisters you can enter the Saint Augustine Chapel where the sepulcher of Navarese King Sancho VII the Strong is. This place should be the really sacral for the Basques because that king was the Great Crusader and defender of his realm, the hero of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.
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    Cloisters of XIII century Saint Augustine Chapel Cloisters Cavaliero Enel Omorio's tomb Entrance to Saint Augustine Chapel
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    Collegiata Real de Santa Maria

    by Oleg_D. Written Feb 16, 2013

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    Collegiata Real de Santa Maria or The Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary was built at the behest of Sancho VII the King of Navarre known as El Fuerte (The Strong). Church was built at the beginning of XIII century but was consecrated in 1219 only after the death of King Sancho.
    You can attend the pilgrim’s mass every day at 20:00 hours.

    http://www.roncesvalles.es
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    The Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary The Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary Tympanums The Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary The Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary
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    Chapel of Sancti Spiritus

    by lomi Updated Aug 5, 2010

    Since the Middle Ages, the local church has been a favorite resting place for pilgrims along the Santiago Way, since it is the first place to offer a rest after crossing the French Pyrenees.

    You have to be careful you are not run down by 'pilgrims' and backpackers - with walking sticks, and shells - as they pass through the town. The pilgrimage tradition remains hugely popular over 1,000 years after it was begun!

    The town's highlights are the 12th century Romanesque chapel of Sancti Spiritus and the Real Colegiata- a Gothic church with a stunning cloister, the chapterhouse has a star-ribbed vaulting, there is also King Sancho VII's tomb and a lovely silver-coated statue of the Virgin Mary.

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