Home to good wines, San Martín de Unx is an agriculture-based village with mediaeval streets dotted with houses of noble families and remains of ancient walls and a Roman road.
At the top of the village stands the church of San Martin de Tours
, one of the most enchanting churches in the Navarrese Romanesque style
. The views from here are magnificent.
The protogothic chapel of San Miguel and the 14th-century Gothic church of Nuestra Señora del Pópolo (Our Lady of the People) complete the list of monuments you can visit in this small village of 436 inhabitants 45 kilometres south of Pamplona.
Stroll through its streets, try its good wines and discover a landscape with holm oak, kermes oak and juniper trees on the higher ground, and elms and black poplar on the sides of gullies and tracks.
In the most mountainous part of the Merindad (similar to county) of Olite, in the Central Zone of Navarre, at the crossroads from Tafalla to Ujué and the Aibar valley, stands San Martín de Unx, a village with many centuries of history.
Protected from the north by the hills of Ujué and the Guerinda range of hills, and open to the south towards the fertile flat lands of Olite and Tafalla, the village is surrounded by vineyards where its well-known wine comes from.
Its defensive origin -it grew up around a castle that no longer exists- explains why there are several noble houses with coats of arms in the village and remains of old walls, although you can discover them as you walk up to the highest part of the village.
There stands the 12th-century Romanesque church of San Martin de Tours, to which extensions were added in successive eras. Simplicity is one of its great virtues. On the outside we would highlight its Jaca-style façade, well proportioned and sculpted with capitals showing San Martín, Sampson, the lion and warriors fighting with animals. Inside, enjoy the pure lines of its apse and baptismal font, decorated with various figures, arches and columns.
One of the most striking parts of the church is the crypt, built under the chapel to level out the land. It is accesses by a spiral staircase. This mediaeval space, embellished by the play of light inside, contains six free-standing columns and others against the wall, with capitals decorated with heads and plant motifs.
San Martín de Unx has another Romanesque church, San Miguel, which was the chapel of the old castle. Since the end of the 19th century it has been located inside the cemetery; it has simple lines and a belfry.
Walking through the streets of the village, you come to the 14th-century Gothic church-fortress of Santa María del Pópolo. It is very simple and almost without ornamentation. Go inside, where you will discover the image of Santa María del Pópolo (15th century) and carving of Christ on the Cross from the 15th century. Until a few years ago this carving was kept in the chapel of Santa Zita, 5 kilometres from the village. This chapel is the destination for a romería (popular pilgrimage) held on the Saturday closest to April 27th. A typical feature of the day is a lamb stew called fricafea, made from trotters, tripe and blood.
If you would like to take a souvenir of San Martín de Unx home with you, buy some garrapiñadas (honey-coated almonds) made from almonds and wine (particularly clarete from Navarre, a kind of rosé wine).
The village holds its patron saint's festivity in the first week of August and venerates San Martín on November 11th. It is a good starting point for a visit to the windpark of Guerinda, one of the biggest in Europe; take the road to Sangüesa and turn off to Olleta after going over the Alto de Lerga.