Church-Fortress of Santa María de Ujué
At the highest point in the mediaevel town of Ujué, the fortified church of Santa María de Ujué stands high, elegant and imposing. Its name refers to a legend involving a dove (Uxua in Basque). The story tells of a shepherd who, while looking after his flock, saw a dove entering and exiting a hole in a rock. He approached the hole and found an image of the Virgin Mary there, so the townspeople built a church there to give her shelter.
The church is of Romanesque origin, swallowed up by different constructions that surround and sometimes hide it. Its most peculiar feature is its appearance of a military fortress, thanks to its crenelated towers ('Cuatro Vientos' and 'los Picos'), battlement walk and robust buttresses.
It is now an important Marian sanctuary, a National Monument where major reforms have been carried out. It is one of the jewels of the town thanks to its beautiful galleries, its great Gothic nave with a Romanesque header and two façades. The north side, simpler, is decorated with very descriptive scenes, and the south face - the main one- is a Gothic masterpiece that is certainly worth stopping to see.
Nowadays, Ujué is a small mediaeval town with narrow, stony streets where houses with mediaeval monumental doors and façades with coats of arms and Gothic noble houses abound. In the past, however, Ujué was the main bastion of the Kingdom of Pamplona against the Muslims who occupied the Ebro valley. This church, ... [+ info]
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