The town of Obanos is located on a raised plain in the Central Zone of Navarre. Cereal fields surround the town, which is crossed by the route of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago that comes down from Jaca and continues on to Puente la Reina
, where it joins the other route that comes down from Orreaga/Roncesvalles and Pamplona.A short history
History tells us that Obanos was a town of royal lineage. The Monastery of Leire (from the 11th century), the Monastery of Iratxe (from the 12th century) and the Order of St John of Jerusalem (from the 13th century) all possessed land in Obanos.
In the 13th century it emerged as the focus of the struggle against the abuse of power by the Monarchy, as it was the seat of the Junta de los Infanzones. This body brought together a good many nobles against the excesses of the monarchs. After the conquest of Navarre by Ferdinand of Aragon (1512) it remained as a villa within the Valdizarbe administrative area.
With regard to the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago
, Obanos had a hospital to attend to pilgrims during the years of the greatest splendour of the route. Nowadays it has a guesthouse. Architecture
Obanos is designed around the Plaza de San Guillermo and the Plaza de los Fueros. The town is characterised by the beauty of the architecture that fills its streets with large stone or brick houses, some with arches on the upper floor.
One of the main buildings is Casa Muzqui, from the first half of the 17th century. It has an overhanging eave and an arched door flanked by windows. Other interesting houses are Casa Tximonco, Casa Cildoz or the old Pilgrims Hospital, where the 1,056 costumes for the 'Misterio de Obanos
' are kept.
As for religious architecture, we would highlight the church of San Juan Bautista, in neo-Gothic style, the basilica of Our Lady of Arnotegui, about 2.5 kilometres away from Obanos, and the chapel of San Salvador. According to some, it is in this chapel that the two branches of the 'French Route' of the Pilgrim's Way join. The Misterio de Obanos
This mediaeval legend relates the journey taken by the young Duke of Aquitaine, San Guillén
, and his sister Santa Felicia
in pilgrimage to Santiago. On passing through Obanos, she decided to stay to dedicate herself to helping the pilgrims that travelled through the area. San Guillén, jealous and furious with rage, tried to get his sister to leave Obanos. He did not manage to convince her and killed her in a fit of anger. The Duke, plunged into sadness and remorse, shut himself away in the hermitage of Arnotegui, not far from Obanos, after having completed the pilgrimage to Santiago.
The story became a passion play in 1965 under the direction of the priest Don Santos Beguiristáin. This allegory is now staged every two years in July in the Plaza de los Fueros and more than 600 actors take part. The 'Misterio de Obanos', as the play is known, has been declared a Fiesta of National Tourist Interest