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Navarra (1)

Navarra is a region with a very marked history and it occupies a privileged geographic position, south from the Pyrenees mountain range, on its more western side. Navarre has conserved its own personality and governmental institutions from the XIth century and the Way of Santiago crosses its lands from the French border. It was an important Iberian medieval kingdom that arose from the fight against the Muslims, and in the Modern Age it was incorporated into the crown of Castile, although it conserved its own laws.

This autonomous community has a great variety of ecosystems, from the oak and beech forests, like the one in Irati, to Bardenas Reales, with its high bare peaks. Navarre can be divided in several zones: The mountainous north, with the valley of Baztan as the most characteristic Pyrenean zone and the mountain ranges of Aralar and Urbasa in the west, the valleys furrowed by narrow passes, like those of Arbayún, in the middle zone, and the Shore of the Ebro, in the South, with the very plain and fertile Estella land. Navarre has, on the other hand, more than fifty natural territories, among which the Integral Reserve of Lizardoia and the Natural Park of Señorio de Bertiz stand out.

The history of Navarre has been marked by its border situation with France and its condition of separation from the great Spanish medieval kingdoms. Because of this rich history Navarre conserves a monumental legacy in its diverse towns and cities; evocative places like Roncesvalles, the walled Artajona, Estella, or Olite (a medieval village with a great castle). Historical places, like the Olite palace, the castle of Javier, the monastery of Leyre, Roncesvalles, the historical part of Estella, and the Cathedral and the Old Quarter of Pamplona, among others, offer the possibility of making guided visits.

Another fact of historical importance was the Way of Santiago. The great majority of pilgrims choose the "French route", the one that goes to Santiago from the French border and that was born in the Navarrese locality of Roncesvalles. It is the most used route, the best signalized one and the one with the greatest number of refuges for the travelling pilgrim.

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