Estella and Irache.
06.06.2008 - 30.06.2008 24 °C
Our next stop on the Camino was Estella-Lizzara, a town that came into being when in the 11th century the influx of pilgrims who started travelling to Santiago de Compostella via Camino Frances grew in large numbers. It is a beautiful place between mountains and plains of Navarra, which became a commercial hub because the Jews settled in this area and even today, strolling its narrow old streets, you will find traces of french and jewish influence, the Jewish Quarter, its flourishing commercial life, the weekly market which attracts many visitors.
The Hospitallers of St. John, created by Knights Templar, influenced the developments of many villages and hamlets where pilgrims were housed and comforted on their way to Santiago and one of the first hospitals was built in Estella and in nearby village of Irache.
Estella-Lizzara is also famous for its bridges. River crossings were among the many challenges facing the medieval pilgrim, and bridges were constructed to make the river crossing more safer. Aymeric Picaud a 12th-century French scholar, monk and pilgrim, describes his experience on his pilgrimage to Santiago in his Iter pro peregrinis ad Compostellam, a practical guide book for pilgrims written in the mid-12th century. Dividing the journey in to 13 stages, Picaud describes relics and shrines, promoting some and trashing others as bogus, and includes colourful descriptions of the local inhabitants. The general message to pilgrims is that the further they travel, the more barbarous are the people they will encounter. Not a very encouraging message if his idea was to promote pilgrimage to Santiago.