In the highest village in the Aezkoa valley (also the highest in Navarre), B>Abaurregaina/Abaurrea Alta or 'the balcony of the Pyrenees'
, a special place has been created that aims to evoke the cycle of life and death.
Next to the church, the hundred-year-old cemetery of the village has recovered several mediaeval funeral steles
that had been hidden for decades. On entering, the visitor comes across a door where you can see the earth that has piled up over time. In the past, when the cemetery was full the steles were covered up and they continued burying people on top of them.
Now you can admire around twenty discoid steles in their original position and orientation. Surrounded by flower and plants, they tell their own story through a great wealth of decorative elements. Some show very elaborate and varied shapes on both sides. Others (the more recent ones), include text with the name of family.
Moons, stars, crosses, crosiers, shells, birds... Try and identify these and others while you lose yourself in the maze of walls in this labyrinth
. It is a reflection of the mediaeval notion of human existence as a tortuous vale of tears that leads to death. Symbols are everywhere in this garden, with the tombs closest to the church being nearest to order or morals. Further away, the tombs have more to do with instincts and the forces of the earth.
There is also a set of walkways and stairs that take the visitor from birth to death and later resurrection. Continuing with the allegorical recreation
, the white-barked birches represent people's souls on their journey to the afterlife. Total understanding is achieved on the highest point, representing eternal life. The visitor finds him/herself in heaven, an idea reinforced by the beautiful view of the Pyrenees
that can be enjoyed from there.