25.

Puente Ia Reina
(346m,)


All facilities. Buses to Estella, Logrono and Pamplona.


Puente La Reina, or  Ponte de Arga, got its name at the beginning of the eleventh century.   Dona Major, wife of Sancho “el Major” (though she may also have been Dona Estefania, Dona Majore’s niece) was the queen who gave her name to the town. She built the bridge over the river Arga for the use of pilgrims going to Compostela.


A French colony was firmly in place by 1090.  Alfonso Garcia VI and I “el Batallador” played a central role in the town’s development. Garcia VI handed it over to the Templars in 1142 and granted them some privileges. They continued to provide free lodging for pilgrims.

When the Order of the Templars was destroyed, their possessions passed to the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Around 1469, Prior John Beaumont began building a new pilgrim hospital in the church of Crucifixion.
The town’s principal monuments are to be found in a part of the callle de los Peregrinos, between the church of the Crucifixion and the famous bridge.
The church of Santa Maria de la Vega y del Crucicijo is Romanesque. The doorway was built in the thirteenth century.  The gothic crucifix carried from Germany by a pilgrim is housed in the nave in the north side, a fifteenth century addition. The adjacent building and the top section of the tower were eighteenth century improvements.
The Romanesque image of the Virgen de la Vega is one of the oldest in Navarre.
The church of Santiago, the ancient parish church, retains only the twelfth century south door from the original structure. The important fifteenth century renovations gave it a high and spacious nave; the neoclassical tower was added in 1777. It contains a good polychrome wooden statue of Santiago Peregrino (XVI century).

The calle Major contains a notable group of monuments: at the near end it is flanked by two towers. On both sides all the way there are palaces, nobly proportioned houses with shields, projecting eaves and graceful balconies. The facades of the churches of the Trinity and Santiago also demand your attention. At the other end, a fortified gateway gives access to the Romanesque bridge. This is the pilgrim’s bridge, one of the most interesting on the whole way to Santiago. The bridge gave its name to the town. It has six arches, and is a superb example of medieval construction, one of the few built during the period that survives in perfect condition.


Directions:


Turn left at Refugio, a two-storey building on the corner run by the Padres Reparadores, with an arcaded verandah outside, and then turn right in front of the seminary, passing between it and the church of Santiago (right). Keep straight on down the Calle Mayor until you get to the old bridge over the Arga. Cross it and turn left on to road. Cross main road (near modern bridge) and fork left onto minor road, parallel to main road. When this veers right, back towards the main road at large wayside cross (picnic area, fountain). Fork left onto UMUR, which then becomes a cart track, running parallel to the river. Continue along it for 1.5 km and at a modern (water or electricity) tower across on the other side of the river to your left, you will see a path turning to your right onto a wide track. Take it, go uphill, forking left shortly afterwards to a ravine and then follow it (now a foot path) uphill again, turning right after a flight of steps onto a wide earth track leading steeply uphill. Pass site of former thirteenth-century Monasterio de Bargota (fountain, picnic area and orientation plan on main road above you to right) and continue on UMUR parallel to road until you enter village of Maneru.

4km to Maneru

 

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A SUMMARY OF A PAGE FROM The Village to Village Guide To The Camino Santiago: With Permission Simon Walleberg Press. The Book is available at Amazon & Most Bookshops.