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.