21 April 2010



The Way of St. James in Estella

D. Román Felones Morrás.
Full Professor Geography and History teacher of I.E.S. Tierra Estella.

The course "El Camino de Santiago y las raíces de occidente" (The Way of St. James and the roots of the West) included in its development three outings to as many places representative of the Jacobean route. On 21 April, on a sunny and spring-like afternoon, a visit to Estella was held, which had some additional attractions.

The visit began with a brief introductory lecture entitled "Estella and the Way of St. James". It was given for the convenience of those attending in the interior of the church of San Miguel de Estella, whose parish priest, David Galarza, we would like to thank for his permanent availability whenever his financial aid is required. 

The present-day city of Estella is the sum of several cities in one: the Jacobean city, born by and for the Way; the market city, structured around the fairs; the military city, with a great defensive complex, already defined in the 13th century; the ecclesiastical city, with 22 temples of diverse origin and importance; and the city management assistant, the centre of a region, Tierra Estella, which has survived to the present day. Without ignoring any of them, we focus our attention on the Jacobean city, the object of our visit.

After taking a look at the historical context of the year 1000, as the date of reference letter, and its evolution throughout the 11th century, we proceeded to develop the basic milestones of the birth of the first borough of Navarre, following the script perfectly traced by its most expert connoisseur, Ángel Martín Duque: the previous existence of the town of Lizarrara, the arrival of groups of emigrants from the south of France in the heat of the pilgrimage, their characteristics, the granting of regional law by Sancho Ramírez in 1077, and the appearance of the successive neighbourhoods. This process gave rise to rapid and steady growth, estimated at around 5,000 inhabitants in the mid-13th century. 

The presence of the Jacobean in the city was then discussed: the construction of churches, their dedications, hospitals linked to parishes, confraternities dedicated to the care of pilgrims, legends and deep-rooted traditions, phrases dedicated to the city in Jacobean literature, and the presence of the association de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Estella (Friends of the Pilgrim's Way of St. James of Estella).

agreement Today, according to the study carried out by Professor Carmen Jusué, still unpublished, twenty representations from all over subject, distributed throughout the churches and convents of Estella, bear witness to the city's Jacobean bequest .

The visit to the city of Estella, at position by Román Felones, began in the church of San Miguel.

The visit to the city of Estella, at position by Román Felones, began in the church of San Miguel.

The second part of the afternoon session was devoted to the basic Jacobean pathway of the city: the church of San Miguel, the neighbourhood of the same name, the bridge of La Cárcel with panoramic views of the different neighbourhoods and enclaves, the church of Santo Sepulcro, Calle de la Rúa, place de San Martín and the Palace of the Kings of Navarre. A visit made by many, as it formed part of the 2009 summer course "Bringing heritage closer. Estella, arte y camino", but which always brings surprises and new visions. A route that, in this "Jacobean Holy Year", allows us to unite body, spirit, will, determination and longing with the thousands of pilgrims who will walk it on their way to Compostela. 

Prison Bridge   façade of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Two moments of the visit to the city, crossing the city by the bridge of La Cárcel and contemplating the façade of the church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The biggest novelty of the afternoon was the unique visit visit to the church of San Pedro de la Rúa, which has undergone a comprehensive rehabilitation process. Under the expert guidance of José Luis Franchez, architect of the Institución Príncipe de Viana and director of the technical team, whom we must thank for accepting the invitation, we had the opportunity to tour the interior, stripped of all ornamentation and in the process of intervention, receive the appropriate technical explanations regarding the criteria for action and observe the final result of work on the roofs and the chevet of the complex. A work, the one carried out in San Pedro, which advances the idea of involving the public not only in the final process, but also in the action stage itself. A difficult stage, but one that brings together sufficient incentives to move forward in an inexorable process of socialising an artistic asset, normally rehabilitated with the efforts of the citizens through the public budget .

The afternoon ended with the satisfaction of having been able to verify, once again, that the Art and the Way are in a good moment. They belong to everyone and for everyone. It is only necessary to touch the right key so that the taste and the sensibility come to the surface and the aesthetic enjoyment is produced. Let us hope that we have succeeded, even in a small way.

Those attending the course were given access to the interior of the church of San Pedro de la Rúa.

Those attending the course were able to enter the interior of the church of San Pedro de la Rúa, from where they followed the explanations of José Luis Franchez, architect of the Institución Príncipe de Viana in charge of the restoration.