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Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles
 

INTRODUCTION


Extract of the "Chanson de Roland", kept in the General Record Office of Navarra (Pamplona).


Santa Maria de Roncesvalles, an ancient hospital for pilgrims and enclave of deep epic resonances, is certainly, one of the most emblematic places from the Western Europe, which was always considered the most outstanding and beloved landmark in the journey to Santiago de Compostela.

Tradition tell us that Orreaga- Roncesvalles is the location of the most painful defeat of the French army. There, Charlemagne mourned the death of the best French knight and his twelve knights, which resulted in a tale thousand times told and sung, as far as the confines of Christendom.

An Assistance Centre and a hostel were built in Orreaga- Roncesvalles, a natural route of the Pyrenees, which took in the pilgrims after the hard climb of the mountain to help them reach the final goal.

Both circumstances, the tragic death of Roland and the Jacobean Way, invigorated in an extraordinary way, the life of this Pyrenean enclave and gave European culture two renowned literary works: the famous "Chanson de Roland" and "Liber Sancti Jacobi" written by Aimerico Picaud in the 12th century which gives a singular view of the Jacobean Way. Nowadays, there is a magnificent collection of historic buildings run by a small community of canons who still bless and take in new generations of pilgrims, who will find a way the route to Roncesvalles clearly signalled.