Sunday, July 20, 2014

Passing Pamplona

As the capital of Navarre, Pamplona has the highest population of any city we’ll be passing, with about 200,000 inhabitants. But its modern density doesn’t disguise the wealth of history,  dating back to its founding by a Roman General in 74BC. Its military importance is immediately connoted by its impressive city walls, dating back to the 16th century.


Since then, the city has developed prosperously, so that the southern walls were knocked out to allow further expansion. The result is a city whose historical sprawl is written all over it from a bird’s-eye view, one that maintains an excellent economy and well-known revelry in its disco bars, as well as the site of the famous annual Running of the Bulls during the yearly festival of Saint Fermin.

One of the most impressive landmarks of the city is Pamplona Cathedral, the final iteration of churches built on the site since the Roman era, completed in 1501 and externally refurbished with a sparer facade in the 18th century, and host to the mausoleum of King Carlos III.

No doubt it will be tempting to explore the city endlessly, but we’ll pass no lack of history when we leave it: just past Pamplona lies a historical battleground where the forces of Charlemagne and Aigolando raged for days until the latter conquered the territory in the 8th century.


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