Pamplona is the capital city of the province of Navarra, in the north of Spain and bordering with France, it is more than 3.000 years old. Its name was given by Pompeyo Magno, when he refounded the city around the year 72 BC on a previous Vascon village.
It remained inhabited during Roman times, as a secondary city, although recent archaeological research began to draw the picture of a richer and more extended city.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Pamplona suffered successive occupations from Germanic people, until the 9th century AD when it became the capital of the Kingdom of Navarra.
During the 11th century, the city expanded resulting in two new walled burgs. Despite being neighbors, these burgs lived in conflict for centuries, with internal wars that remain palpable nowadays. This unusual historical development, together with the fact that Pamplona was the location of the Navarra king’s court, provided the city with outstanding medieval monuments and a complex town planning that allows the good observer to travel through many centuries of history.
Undoubtedly, a contribution to the city’s development is Saint James Way (Camino de Santiago). It is a pilgrimage route to the city of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain) that attracted lots of devoted from all Christianity since the 10th century. Nowadays, pilgrims from around the world pass through Pamplona walking the millennial Way.
The Kingdom of Navarra remained throughout Medieval Times, until its incorporation in 1512 to the other small medieval kingdoms (Castilla and Aragon) that would shape Spain as we know it these days. A modern State was being born; with capital influence in the future development of Europe and the world with the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
Enormous wealth came to our shores since the discovery and France, hegemonic in Europe until then, became our enemy. As a result of this global situation, Pamplona set as a strong point strategically situated to control one of the frontiers with France. The construction of an impressive military defense, the Citadel, an example of the most advanced Renaissance fortifications of those times, would mark the city´s destiny forever.
Those walls guarded Pamplona until the 20th century, being of the utmost relevance in several important moments in Europe´s history, like Napoleon Bonaparte´s campaign in Spain. Today is one of the biggest and best preserved walled compounds of the old continent.
At present, Pamplona is known worldwide thanks to San Fermin’s celebration, with the notoriety Ernest Hemingway gave to the party in his novel “The sun also rises” (1929). On the score of this celebration, from 7th to 14th of July, the city attracts thousands of visitors that enjoy the bull running and the festive spirit in the streets.
All this rich history of the city can be seen both in the monuments we will visit and the archaeological ruins yet to discover.