An ancient medieval kingdom on the French border, it has preserved numerous testimonies of the important role that its strategic location allowed it to play in the past. It has beautiful mountainous areas in the Pyrenees.
The most important city in the Navarrese Pyrenees is Pamplona, the capital of the province, on the left-hand bank of the Arga. Pamplona is a modern city with excellent buildings and avenues, but at the same time is still preserves all the charm of the old medieval boroughs with echoes of historic events. From the point of view of sights it is also very interesting. The cathedral, rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1397, is a building of outstanding beauty. Especially noteworthy is its cloister, one of the most beautiful of its time, the chapter house, the mausoleum of Carlos III and his wife, Do˝a Leonor de Castilla, and in general all the sculptural work in the church.
Also interesting is the Neo-classical main fašade by Ventura Rodriguez, dating from 1780. Other buildings worthy of special mention are the churches of San Cernin, San Nicolas, San Lorenzo and San Miguel, La Camara de Comptos, a former department controlling the royal income, the City Hall, the archive of Navarre, the seat of the Regional Government (La Diputacion) and the remains of the walls. Pamplona also has two interesting museums, that of Navarre and the Diocesan Museum.
In the immediate surroundings of the capital are places such as Lecumberri, a crowded summer resort, Monreal, a former royal residence, Obanos, steeped in history, and Puente la Reina, a main stage on the Pilgrims' Way to Santiago. It has two churches of great sculptural value: Santiago and El Crucifijo.
In the fertile La Barunda valley between the Sierras of Aralar and Andia, there is Alsasua, an important centre of communications. Its Hermitage of San Pedro seems to have been the site of the coronation of Garcia Jimenez, the first king of Navarre. At a height of 1,230m in the Aralar Sierra lies the Sanctuary of San Miguel in Excelsis, from where there is a magnificent view. One of the oldest places in Navarre is Sanguesa, 44.5km from the capital. It lies near the river Aragon, and especially noteworthy are the towers of Santa Maria's with its lovely Romanesque portal as well as some palaces.
Estella, a place with Roman traces and full of medieval history, is a first-rate tourist centre. It has lovely buildings, among them San Pedro de la Rua's with its Romanesque portal, San Miguel's, the Gothic Church of El Santo Sepulcro and San Juan Bautista's.
Also worthy of special mention is the palace of the kings of Navarre, a magnificent example of civil Romanesque architecture, and the Gustavo de Maeztu Museum, which houses most of the artist's paintings. Olite occupies a special place in the history of Navarre. Its superb Gothic castle-cum-palace was a royal residence and the Church of Santa Maria la Real is also magnificent. San Pedro's is interesting, too. It has an extraordinary tower with an elegant spire and a Romanesque portal. Near Olite there is Tafalla on the banks of the river Cidacos, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. Two churches are worthy of a visit: Santa Maria's, with a main retable carved by Juan de Ancheta, and that of the convent of the nuns of the Immaculate Conception.
At the point where the torrential waters of the Queiles flow into the Ebro, there is Tudela, the second largest town of Navarre as regards population and industry. The cathedral of the 12C/13C is very beautiful and architecturally very valuable. It has a magnificent Romanesque cloister. Other noteworthy churches are La Magdalenas with its richly decorated Romanesque portal and that of San Nicolas.