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Tudela

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Fueros' square
Bridge over the Ebro
Decanal palace
Video Tudela
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Fueros' square
To the south of Navarre, between the oppressive aridity of the Bardenas and the lush green of the market gardens and orchards of the Ribera, lies Tudela, the second city in Navarre in terms of both size and importance.

Founded in 802 by Amrus ibn Yusuf al-Muwalad under the mandate of King Hakan I, it is one of the most important cities of Islamic origin in Spain and Europe.

For more than 400 years, Muslims, Jews and Mozarabs coexisted, making the city a cultural melting-pot which is reflected in the monumental buildings you will see on strolling through its winding streets, alleyways, walls and watchtowers.

Indeed, Tudela is a city to be explored on foot, where discovering the city's history can be combined with sampling the very finest cuisine, featuring the mouth-watering vegetables of the Ribera region.

The capital of the Ribera region and a living embodiment of the convergence of cultures that made up its past, Tudela enjoys an excellent geographical position on the banks of the Ebro which has made the area a prosperous agricultural centre. With its good communications, the city, with a population of around 30,000 people, has always been notable for its strategic position. This initially made it an outpost for the Muslims against the Christians and later into a vantage point of the Kingdom of Navarre in its struggles against Castile and Aragon.

The expulsion of 3,000 Jews in 1498, and then the Moors and Moorish converts in 1516 and 1610 are some of the significant dates in the history of Tudela, a city that forms part of the Network of Spanish Jewish Sites-Sephardic Paths and Jewish tourist itineraries.

These social minorities left a profound imprint which you can witness as soon as you enter the city via the bridge over the Ebro, an Arabic construction 360 metres long with 17 arches, ogival and half-pointed from which you can get one of the best views of the capital of the Ribera area.

The architectural gem of the city is the cathedral of Santa Maria, built around 1180 over the remains of an old mosque. It has been a national monument since 1884 and has a beautiful doorway and Romanesque cloister, and a light-filled Gothic central nave. Also noteworthy is the chapel of Santa Ana, worked in Churrigueresque Baroque and restored in 1948.

Next to the cathedral you can visit the Diocese Museum in the Dean's Palace (16th century), and distributed around the city the churches of St. George (17th century), Carmen (17th century), St. Nicholas of Bari (18th century), Santa Maria (16th century) and the Magdalena (12th century), a national monument that still retains one of the few Romanesque towers you can see in Navarre.

With regard to religious architecture, the convents of Carmen (17th century), the Dominicans (17th century), the Capuchins (18th century) and the Clarissas (18th century) are also extremely interesting, as are the chapels of the Virgen de la Cabeza and Santa Cruz, and the image of the Sacred Heart, standing on a hillock from where you can get an excellent view over the city.

The civil architecture of the city is equally striking, with its streets sheltered by mansions, palaces and buildings with tremendous character such as the palace of the Marquis of San Adrián (16th century), the palace of the Marquis of Huarte(18th century), the Castel Ruiz Cultural Centre (17th century), and the Muñoz Sola Museum of Modern Art.

The Plaza de los Fueros, where the old and modern parts of the city converge, is one of the favourite meeting places of the people of Tudela. Built in 1687, it was once used as a bullring, has a central bandstand and on the façades of the houses surrounding it you can see the heraldic coats of arms of the towns in Navarre's Ribera area.

As well as a flourishing commercial sector, you will also find that Tudela boasts some of the best restaurants. Sample some of its outstanding vegetables -artichokes, asparagus, lettuce hearts, chard- and do not leave without trying the famous menestra (a stew of artichokes, peas, green beans, asparagus, Swiss chard and Serrano ham), a product that is also sold in jars or cans.

Tudela is also a town of fiestas and traditions. The festival of its patron saint, St. Anna, is held between 24th and 30th July, and the festivals known as El Volatín and La Bajada del Ángel, of cultural and historical interest, are held at Easter between March and April.

If you are interested in nature-based activities, Tudela makes a great starting point for exploring the Bardenas Reales, following the Despoblado de Rada path or walking or cycling along the Tarazonica"Green Route".

If you are travelling with children, in the warmer months you can visit the Sendaviva Park (near Arguedas), which has animals living in semi-freedom as well as theme-park rides.

If you happen to be visiting on 18th September, be sure to go to the locality known as El Paso to see the thousands of transhumance sheep coming down to the Bardenas from the northern Pyrenean valleys.
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Did you know that...?

  • Mercadillo de artesanía y coleccionismo cada primer domingo de mes en la calle Herrerías.

 

  • Desde 2010, Tudela acoge el Festival internacional Avant-Garde, en el que célebres artistas del ámbito del street art crean murales en espacios públicos que antes se evitaban, llenando el centro histórico de arte contemporáneo.

 

  • Rutas guiadas para descubrir la Torre Monreal con su Cámara Oscura y dar un paseo por lugares emblemáticos.

Location

Outstanding events

Festival of National Tourist Interest:

. The Descent of the Angel. Whit Sunday in the Plaza de los Fueros. An angel, played by a child, is suspended on a wire over the square and gently drops down to an image of the Virgin Mary, whose veil the child then removes.

. The Volatin. Easter Saturday. This ceremony symbolises the painful death of Judas Iscariot through the burning of an effigy.

 

Other events:

. Vegetables celbration week a seminar highlighting the virtues of vegetables from the south of Navarre (end of April, early May).

 

. European Day of Jewish Culture (September).

 

 

 

Guided visit

Service provider: Museo de Tudela - Palacio Decanal, teléfono 948402161, reservas: info@museodetudela.com (Visitas guiadas para grupos, previa cita).

Services

  • Accommodation
  • Bank
  • Cashpoint
  • Child-park
  • Cinema
  • Discotheque
  • Fronton
  • Guided visits
  • Health centre
  • Internet
  • Medical centre
  • Outdoor sports area
  • Petrol station
  • Pharmacy
  • Picnic spot
  • Pub
  • Restaurant / coffee-houses
  • Shpping centre
  • Spa
  • Sports centre
  • Supermarket / shop
  • Swimming area
  • Swimming-pool
  • Theatre
  • Tourist Office

Observations

El mercado semanal se celebra los sábados.

How to get there and move around

Salir de Pamplona por la AP-15 dirección Imarcoain/Zaragoza/Madrid hasta la salida 6 y por la N-232/A-68 hasta el cruce con la N-160. Tomar esta última girando a la izquierda y continuar hasta Tudela.

Opening hours, dates and guide prices. We recommend you confirm with the entity in question.

Practical information