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.