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The 'Plaza de los Fueros'

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Plaza de los Fueros. Tudela

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Plaza de los Fueros. Tudela
The Plaza de los Fueros is the place where a large part of the social life of the people of Tudela takes place. It is a place to rest and meet friends, as well as being the access point to the judería vieja (old Jewish quarter) and the twisting and narrow streets of the Old Part. Built in the 17th century, its first use was as a venue for the bullfights that were previously held in the Cathedral square. It is overlooked by the Casa del Reloj (Clock House) and has a bandstand that fills with music and fun to liven up the evenings of the city during the summer. The most important events in the city take place here, such as the Easter rituals and (in summer) the start of the fiesta and the popular dance called 'la Revoltosa'.

La Plaza de los Fueros is located on the boundary between the old and new parts of Tudela, the main city in La Ribera (south) of Navarre. It is the most popular meeting place for the tudelanos, and an ideal area to watch life go by from one of its café terraces. It is also a good starting point to visit the monumental (old) part of the city.

It has received various names throughout its history: "plaza de los toros" (bull square), "plaza Nueva", "plaza Real" (Royal Square), "of the Constitution", "of Fernando VII", although it acquired its present name in 1893, in honour of the Fueros (Charter of Privileges) of Navarre.

The idea of creating a new square emerged to provide a venue for the bullfights that had been held in the old part until then (next to the Cathedral), because the bullfights had been prohibited by the Cabildo (Chapter) of the Cathedral because they took place in a sacred place.

The construction of this new square outside the city walls represented the start of the urban reform of Tudela. Built over the course of the river Queiles in 1687, it was necessary to cover the river bed with stone arches and lay the base of the square on top of them.

The design of the square followed the model for main squares in Spain in the 17th century. In memory of its bullfighting role, the decoration of the façades includes scenes of bulls and coats of arms of the towns in La Ribera. The uniformity of the roofs and façades is only broken by two buildings: the Casa del Reloj, which presides over the square, and the Hospital de Gracia, now a senior citizens' residence. In 1921 it was decided to adorn the centre of the square with a bandstand.

Fiestas and traditions

The daily hustle and bustle of this place reaches its peak at Easter and during the summer. On Easter Saturday a ceremony called El Volatín is celebrated; it symbolises the hanging of Judas and dates back to the 16th century. The following day, the square fills up with people to see the Bajada del Ángel (Descent of the Angel), in which a youngster from the town takes the leading role. It literally involves a child being supported on a wire and 'flying' from the Casa del Reloj to the other side of the square, and represents the apparition of the Angel Gabriel to Maria telling her of the Resurrection of Christ.

The summer is also a good time to enjoy the festive atmosphere and good humour that is present everywhere in Tudela. The Plaza de los Fueros is the place where the rocket is launched to start the city's fiesta and where 'La revoltosa' (a dance that attracts large crowds) takes place every night during the festivities.

From here you can start an itinerary through the most modern part of Tudela; under the arches of the Casa del Reloj there are two passageways that lead to the Paseo del Queiles, a recreational and leisure area designed by the prestigious architect from Tudela, Rafael Moneo.

The square is also the starting point for a walk around the Old Part of the city. Stroll through the winding streets, which lead to interesting spots full of flavour and tradition. Visit the judería (old Jewish quarter) and its 18th-century mansions and do not miss the opportunity to try the exquisite vegetable dishes of La Ribera, which can be found in any of the restaurants of the city.
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