ESTELLA / LIZARRA was repopulated and created as a settlement around 1090, by King Sancho Ramírez de Navarra and Aragón. There, merchants, nobles and clerics settled , whose existence was based on attending to the needs and to taking care of the pilgrims who arrived from all over Europe. Its connection with the Way of Santiago is evident in Codex Calixtino, that describes the town as being : "Fertile in good bread and excellent wine, as well as meat and fish, and supplied with all types of goods".
Then came many of the monuments that the pilgrim can still visit today, churches and monasteries- to which a good number of pilgrims' hostels and hospitals were added. We know there were 6 in the fourteenth century. But its best moment was a little earlier, its heyday being in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Known as the "capital of Navarre Romanesque", many of its temples are worth a visit, starting with the church of San Pedro de la Rua, which since the 13th century has been known as San Pedro el Mayor. In addition to its facade dating from the XIII century, it is worth visiting its interior, with its the altarpiece of the Virgen del Rosario, a classic example of the early seventeenth century, with a beautiful Gothic sculpture of the Virgin of the O.
Another treasure of the city is the church of San Miguel de Estella, with remains of its original Romanesque building of the XII century. In this magnificent example of late Romanesque architecture, the five original apses and their vaulted chapels still remain. The altarpiece of Santa Elena has also resisted the ravages of time.
We also recommend a visit to the church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the old "Rúa de los Pilgriños’ This is also of Romanesque origin, although its architecture has sustained many alterations many gothic elements from the 14th century still remain, such as the main entrance and the polygonal apses.
To these places of worship are added the convent of Santo Domingo, the convent of Santa Clara, Church of Santa Maria Jus del Castillo –dating from the twelfth century- and the Basilica of Our Lady of Puy, which although modern conserves an image of the Virgin of Puy , Patron saint of the city, from the fourteenth century.
Among the civic monuments we would indicate the Castillo Mayor and the remains of the castle of Zalatambor, two of the three fortresses that existed in the city during the Middle Ages. The Castillo Mayor became a royal residence during the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. We also recommend visiting the Palace of the Kings of Navarre, a unique example of Romanesque civil architecture.