History is such that the memory of Zugarramurdi
will always be associated with the Inquisition
; in the Middle Ages about thirty women from the village were tried or punished in a ruthless way. Why? Jealousy? Political or cultural differences? Many efforts have been made to try and clarify what happened back then. On the one hand, the isolated north of Navarre encouraged the conservation of theories of devil worship and natural remedies that could have been confused with witchcraft. On the other, the struggles between clans (agramonteses and beaumonteses) favoured envy between the two major noble family factions that led to many false accusations.
The museum, located in the old hospital of the village not far from the famous cave
, deals with the world of witchcraft and portrays the society of Navarre in the 17th century, with all its myths and legends.
The route begins with a general presentation of the area of Xareta (Sara, Ainhoa, Urdazubi/Urdax and Zugarramurdi), showing the green-hued landscape that was home to the magical world of witches and covens. The visitor can then enjoy a film titled "La caza de brujas"
(witch hunt), which sets out to cast some light on the process of the Inquisition in 1610.
On the first floor we can discover the birth of the myth called María Ximilegui
. Although she took part in covens after her arrival in Zugarramurdi she later repented and told the authorities what went on every night. That is how the biggest witch hunt ever conducted in Spain began.
The second floor contains the myths, the matriarchal society of the time and the figure of the herbalist. A series of exhibitions and audiovisuals reveal the ancestral wisdom of the women of the time, who used the power of nature to apply remedies to illnesses and evils.
After learning about the history, there is nothing better than a visit to the cave of Zugarramurdi
that was home to those unbridled rituals and feasts. Let your imagination fly. The festivities are revived every year on 18th August, when the zikiro-jate
is held, a collective meal whose star is roast lamb on a stake.
If you would like to discover the beautiful countryside around the area there is a5-mile path
that passes by the caves of Urdazubi/Urdax
and those of Sare, in France.