The 'swallows' return, this time to stay. They have built their nests in the old barracks, a traditional house in the centre of Isaba
. They have settled in between the stone and the wood to tell us their story and that of the easternmost valley in the Navarrese Pyrenees
, that of Roncal.
The 'swallows' is the nickname given to the young espadrille makers from Roncal who used to walk to a factory in Mauleón (France) every autumn, where they stayed until the spring. This fact, and their black clothes and white stools, account for the nickname. Their memory is now revived in the ethnographic centre of the valley.
It is housed in a traditional three-storey building in which hundreds of ancient pieces are displayed to perpetuate the Roncalese identity
. The museum has several information panels, interactive computers, audiovisuals and videos that explain the way of life in the valley, mainly focusing on pasturage, the houses, and games.Layout
The ground floor
is home to the tourist information office, the reception, and a small shop, plus a kitchen and living room that are representative of traditional Roncal houses, with a number of souvenirs of a family.
On the first floor
there is a large number of utensils used in the traditional occupations of the valley, mainly pasturage and almadías (river rafts). These pieces share the space with the elegant and noble Roncalese costumes
that were sown by hand.
The top floor
contains an area for children's activities, a playschool, games, festivities and dances. The little ones can also enjoy a story told next to the chimney. Another symbol of the valley held in the museum is the uskara roncalés
, a dialect of the Basque language considered to be the oldest in Europe. So, "Onki Xin"
(welcome) to this 'House of Memories'.