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Navarra

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Walk through Pamplona

Some years ago, the Chicago Tribune published an article about the city of Pamplona. The article went beyond the traditional topic of Sanfermines and talked about another interesting places around the city. If you want to read the complete article, please click here

Having this article on mind, I am writing about the last morning we went for a walk around Pamplona. We may have not seen all the city since it took us just one hour, and we visited just some streets, but it was totally worth it, so follow us and take a look of what we saw.

 

We visited some buildings of an area of Pamplona called I Ensanche. The word Ensanche could be more or less translated to “expansion”, therefore, it was the first expansion of the city. Now you may ask yourself why are we talking about “expansion”? Well, because of the walls surrounding the city. Until the last century, Pamplona was a city completely surrounded by a stone fortress. Nowadays despite it still has some remaining walls, the city has grown out of those edges. So, back then, the city was completely different from what we can appreciate today.

The first expansion was the first area where wealthy people could build elegant houses made by the most important architects of the  end of XIXth Century and beginnings of the XXth Century. A public building, the palace of justice, was built at the same time as well.

Regrettably, some of those houses were demolished and today we can´t enjoy watching all of them. However, around this area there are still some amazing examples of the detail-oriented and versatile styles that define the architecture of that time. For example, it’s impossible to avoid looking at the beautiful buildings by Manuel Martinez Urbago in Modernist style. The team was astonished by the beauty of the gantries and overwhelmed by the delicacy of every little piece that decorated the room. The details and harmony in those spaces suddenly let us delightfully experience an atmosphere from other times.

We also enjoyed watching at the only house of Pamplona that is built in neo-mudéjar style. In the case of this particular building, materials are essential, since bricks are not only for used construction, but also for the decoration of its facade. With contrasting colors, geometric shapes and a harmonic combination of the bricks with the rest of materials, this is a beautiful creation that effortlessly stands out from the surrounding houses.

In the end, we spent such a nice morning contemplating all the ornamental details, admiring the sinuous beauty of each façade, balcony or hall, reconstructing the ancient majesty of those houses in our minds, and chatting about the historicist and eclectic style in Spain, that the time passed so fast we didn´t notice.

Each of us also learnt a little more about the city of Pamplona. We realized that knowing well a city is not as easy as it sounds. It does not matter if it is a small city or even if we have been living there for several years, there are always secret spots or hidden treasures that need just a little of attention to be discovered and admired.

This morning walk was totally worth it. It was a morning for learning to look at the beauty of a city. Cities do not need to be enormous nor monumental to please our sight with lovely spaces. Each of them has a past that defines it, a need for beauty that decorates it and a will to become a nice place to live in that shapes it. With this walk along the secret beauties of Pamplona, we learned that each city possesses a charm, a history and a heritage that must be enjoyed, preserved and given to the next generations for their own delight.

 

 

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Wow the horreos in Navarra!

            What does the word horreo mean?

  sello-mec-v2-sm  It is a word well known in some regions of Spain such as Asturias and Galicia which, being located in the north, are very humid areas. Long ago, the horreo was utilized to keep food preserved from humidity and animals, especially, mice

In the region of Navarra there are some horreos as well. Nowadays, we can visit 22 of them but some years ago there even were more. Modern times, new ways of living, and emigration from villages to cities has resulted in the destruction of some horreos.

In the 70s, they began to be preserved as rural heritage. In Navarra, they are most commonly found in Valle de Aezkoa.

                      The horreos that we visited

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We haven’t visited Valle de Aezkoa yet. But we did visit some very interesting horreos.

The first one, is the oldest in Navarra: The Hórreo of Iracheta. From the XI century, it is the one farthest along the Pyranees area. It is in the area called “Valdorba.” It is an area with a very rich heritage, interesting romanesque art, and very cute villages plus it is located not far from Pamplona.

The Hórreo of Iracheta is made of stone, it is big and impressive. We used it for a great video and photo session with Borja Centenera and Clara Frago.

It was a sunny day of the beginning of June, a great day for shooting, and for a very nice talk about old constructions as well.

iracheta-portada

                              Conjunto Monumental de Santa Fe

And at the beginning of September we went to the Valley of Urraul Alto. This is an area of Navarra full of beauty. Today it is almost depopulated and very unknown. Being interesting and unknown are two great reasons for the team of Patrimonio para jóvenes to go for a visit.

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This horreo was the first one some people from the Americas had seen in their life.  We also visited the interior of the Conjunto, the cloister and the church. Some people even had the pleasure of climbing the bell tower

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During this visit I announced another one: our workshop about old clothes apropos of the altarpiece of St Julian of Ororbia. This will be the topic of the next blog post. Have a nice week and visit Navarra at least online!

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European Heritage Days in Genevilla, Navarra

sello-mec-v2-smAt the end of May, when we visited Genevilla, I knew we had to come back. Its heritage, landscape and friendly people are well worth visiting again.

But I never imagined that the visit would come so soon.

               A newspaper advertisement  

I was reading a local newspaper when I came across news from the government of Navarra. They invited the city halls of the different villages of the region to participate at The European Heritage Days. One of the conditions was to present the program with a cultural association.

Patrimonio para jovenes had kept in touch with the people of Genevilla and offered our proposal: A workshop about the altarpiece of the parish. An awesome, stunning piece of art from Renaissance.

                    And the day arrives! 

And the 1st of October, there we were. And we couldn’t believe how many people came. It was a joy. But we were certainly dealing with a challenge: to talk to such a big group with a range of age we are not used to.

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Everybody was very interested and some of them looked carefully with bicoulars. So they appreciated the details from sculptures and how they were carved and polychromed.

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             The children  

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For children we prepared some big papers with the designs from the friezes of the altarpiece. Kids were looking at the altarpiece first and then they colored in the way they preferred. They had fun. By the way, thank you to the team that came as volunteers to take care of them.

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                      And the party 

After visiting the altarpiece, we had appetizers courtesy of the village council. It was a great time to talk, find old friends and make new ones.

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Here is a picture with some of us. It was such a cute, nice, friendly morning at Genevilla.

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And here you have the links to some websites that can be helpful if you want to visit this area :

http://www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/home/

http://www.turismotierraestella.com/

 

http://www.turismo.navarra.es/esp/organice-viaje/recurso/Localidad/2670/Viana.htm

http://www.alavaturismo.eus/index.php/es/

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Victoriana, in Memoriam

Victoriana, in Memoriam

A journalist named Nerea Alejos wrote about this story in the regional newspaper “Diario de Navarra” on 22 August.

 

sello-mec-v2-smUsually we are looking for stories, that are somehow or have something new. But sometimes just the opposite happens: stories are looking for us. For example, there was last year in Burgos with the matter of the “monster or Ravenna” at the Burgos Cathedral and now, we have Victoriana Arizaleta and in her memory, the yoke of a small bell on the bell tower of the parish of St. Roman in the village of Arellano,  Spain.


            1878

Arellano en memora de Victoriana

“In Memorian of Victoriana Arizaleta” and the year 1878. And nothing more, just ‘Jesus and Mary.’ A bell with no use nowadays but with the name of a lady.

At the beginning of the research, we asked the old people of the village.  Alvaro de Goñi, has also been looking at the archives there an we  supposed 1878 was the date of the Victoriana death. But to our surprise, it was the date of her birth.

 

          Perhaps a well off woman, a kind of “patroness’?

 

We also worked with this theory, but it doesn’t quite fit. At the archive of the parish we’ve found the expenses for her funeral, which were quite normal. If she was rich,  she (or her family)  didn’t like putting  on a show of her capabilities.

Libro de cuentas, funeral

 

Things that we know

 

            Born in 1878, she married a barber from the village of Salinas de Oro. The wedding was in Estella in the year 1901.

She had at least three children and worked as a midwife in Arellano and other small villages around. One of her boys, Santiago, had been the mayor of Arellano for years.

Victoriana took care especially with the birthing of very poor ladies and  gypsies. This was reported to us by her granddaughter who now is more than 70 year old.

Victoriana cooked cheese just for the family, and liked to make artisanal works, crafts, and the very typical Spanish “Encaje de bolillos” that consist of making lace in a special way.

Pascasia Arizaleta

Devoted of the Heart of Jesus, we also found that Victoriana’s mother  has a silver heart dedicated to the Virgin Mary,  in the very same church. A fact discovered by Alvaro de Goñi, a young man from Arellano. In any case, we don’t know who paid for the bell yoke with the name of Victoriana. It is supposed be done by herself.

 

                 … And things we propose:

Campana completa

           Births, wars… love and death… a work in the silence of the small villages isolated without the communication of today ( Internet, motorway, mobiles and so on )… a woman, a bell, a name. A bell that perhaps would be appropriate to ring again,  at least once every year, in memory not only of Victoriana but of all rural women of Spain.

                

 

 

                

 

 

 

 

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Arellano a charming village at Navarra

 sello-mec-v2-smHere we are again! The academic year 2016/17 begins and the blog continues with this entry about our visit to Arellano, which is  just a few kms. away from our last visit in Dicastillo.

Some years ago, we visited the Roman villa at Arellano, an archeological site located close to the village. And whatsmore…I remember getting into a small car accident right on the square of the village. Thank God, it was nothing very serious.

                             Almost by chance

                     It was during our visit to Dicastillo that we decided to continue to Arellano. There, we got to go into the medieval tower and enjoy the beautiful views of the landscape and the church of Arellano. The nice temperature and sun made everything easy.

If you go to Arellano, don’t forget visit this tower. It has free entrance and it was restored some years ago, so it is not dangerous to climb up to the top.

Arellano Rossi y Lucy contemplan el paisaje

                     The Church of Saint Roman. What a colors!

 Around the church there is a small, cute garden carefully watered  with some nice grass and plants. It is nice to be there, just having a friendly chat on a summer evening.  But even with this atmosphere, it is not possible to imagine the beauty that the interior of the church holds.

Alvaro de Goñi, a boy from the village opened the church for us and explained the stunning mural paintings.

Arellano, vista gernal de la nave

 

On the presbytery, there are remains of medieval paintings from the 14th century.

Arellano, detalle de metopa

All around the church we saw decorative paintings from the 16th century. There is also a frieze with the Magnificat prayer written and some decoration which you can also find at the Cathedral of Sigüenza,  close to Madrid but far away from Navarra.

                                  The painting altarpiece of Saint Cristobal

ARellano, San Cristóbal

The amazing painting of Saint Cristobal really attracted attention because of its size and colors. It has the curiosity of some original iconographical additions ( found only in Arellano?) . For exemple the travellers, the eagles -two of them alighted one flying) the Virgin Mary and the two caravels on the top. Check out the painting and look for this details if yo visit the church.

        The old organ is out of order nowadays but is a goosd instrument and it is just waiting for money to be restored

Arellano todos viendo el órgano

 

                                   But another story was coming across!

At the end of teh visit, we were climbing again, this time up the bell tower of the church, again enjoying the views , and were able to see the tower from where we were peeping out a half an hour beforehand.

But, when looking at the bells, we discovered a lady’s name written on the yoke of a small bell. “In memory of Victoriana Arizaleta ” . So, who was Victoriana?

Arellano en memora de Victoriana

After some research by Marta Castaño and Alvaro de Goñi we will know and I will report it on a new post.

See you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

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Dicastillo

sello-mec-v2-smDicastillo is a village located at the region of Navarra, not very well known but is well worth visiting. When arriving you can discover a stunning palace from the last years of the 19th century an the begining of the 20th. Its history and that of its owner the “condesa de la Vega del Pozo” has been studied by Blanca Sagasti. Her research is now in an interesting book : “ De la Casa familiar de los López de Dicastillo al Palacio de la Condesa de la Vega del Pozo “

Disc todos en la puerta

As a result of reading this book I kept in touch with Blanca . Then we visited the palace, today empty ( or almost) waiting for a new use. Nothing better tha reading the report by Reagan Hahn :

I knew we would experience something incredible from the minute the man pulled out a key to unlock the heavy gates. As they opened with a creak, the palacio stood before us in all of its architectural splendor. Beyond the building, tiny roses formed a blanket over the garden pagoda.

Dicastillo en el cenador

     Before the excursion…

  I had no idea that a palace was a building exclusively for leisure and that, “castle,” is a term reserved for residences designed for battle. Before the excursion I couldn’t have told you what it feels like to look out the window of a tower and see the mountains and fields of Navarra fill the horizon. Before I couldn’t, now I can. From the great, wide staircases, to the ornate fireplaces, every inch of the palacio drew you in.

Dicastillo comedor al contraluz

                  Beautiful in a tragic way !

Yet, to me, all the grandeur was beautiful in a tragic way. While the rooms were full of things, they lacked people. Only we, the privileged few, got to explore this grand home while the rest of the world lay ignorant to the treasures inside. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this fantastic edifice, and I count myself blessed to have been given the opportunity to explore a piece of history. I only hope that others will come to appreciate the palacio so that once again its rooms will be filled with life.

Disc EScudo de palacio

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Nicolás Alba, the craftsman

logo-mecnaPatrimonio para jóvenes is a project focused on helping to discover the hideen places (in terms of art and cultural heritage) from young people, especially for foreign students. And today, her you have an expemple; Nicolas Alba’s workshop, in the midddle of the beautiful landscape of Valle de Yerri 

To meet this craftsman, not this artist ( he defined himself as a craftsman) you have to leave the motorway and drive for small and charming roads . Go slow, only slow you came come across the creativity .

En el campo

Nicolas works with iron, and the iron in his hands looks like silk, meaning softness and light. You can also find sculptures inside a box with labeled “Rain and Wind” . He also works as a scenographer, an indeed during the day of our visit Nicolas was very busy working on a new theatrical production.

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His workshop is full of objects like masks, gloves, jars filled with small pieces of iron, and the sculptures big and small as well as bridges.

Máscaras

Built bridges, iron bridges, bridges are like a lifestyle , an attitude, a behavior. We all need to create ways of communications with others, discover means to avoid isolation, fear, unbridgeable steps.

Nicolas, a very shy man, is full of sensitivity and during our visit a new bridge was built, one of friendly conversation, empathy, and the joy of discovering this kind of spark and light inside the creative moment. That’s not forgetting that a “creative moment” only appears after the darkness of many hours of work which sometimes seem sterile , even sad .

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The informal chat and questions from the team was great. Everybody was interested about how an idea arrives, what happens if people don’t like a new sculpture shown in an exhibition, or if someone understand it with a very different meaning or point of view from which it was created.

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At the end of the visit we shared a very Spanish typical food: “Tortilla de patata” or spanish omelette. It was not a very long visit and not very far from Pamplona, but it was a deep experience of communication, creativity and friendship.

Please don’t forget to check out Nicolas’s website and the one of the Valle de Yerri. See you soon!