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Castle of Xabier, Navarre, Spain

The Castle of Xabier – Castillo de Javier- is located on a hill in the town of Javier (Navarre, Spain), to 52 km east of Pamplona and 7 km east of Sangüesa. Built in the 10th century. In this castle was born and raised the Saint Francis Xavier, son of the Lords of Xavier, and from there took his surname.

Consists of three, successively staggered in order of antiquity. Highlight the “Tower of the Kristo Santuaren”, stronghold and chapel where there is an interesting Late Gothic crucifix and a series of murals depicting the dance of the death, unique in Spain, the “Tower of Homage” call it San Migel (the oldest of the castle) and the museum dedicated to the life of the saint. In its foundations and bases there are Muslims traces that could be of the 10th century. In the 11th century was formed the first enclosure that sheltered the early surround rooms. In the 13th century were added, for the four orientations, two polygonal bodies and two flanking towers.

The castle and village of Xabier were won by Sancho VII of Navarre around the year 1223. A Aragonese noble had given as warranty for a loan of 9,000 sols that awarded the King of Navarre, but at the end of the period and can not afford to pay, became property of Sancho. It was not the first time, or last, as Sancho VII was one of the major lenders to the Crown of Aragon, and through to loans not returned, seized a number of villages and castles delivered as backing that helped strengthen its border withAragon: Escó, Peña, Petilla, Gallur, Trasmoz, Sádaba, etc. In 1236 the castle was handed over by King Theobald I to Adán de Sada. After the conquest of Navarre, the castle belonged to Maria Azpilikueta, native of Baztan Valley, married to Joanes Jatsukoa, whose family defended the independence of the kingdom. For this reason Cardinal Cisneros ordered the complete demolition of the castle in 1516, but only held a topping of the strong part of it:

  • Was knocked down all the walls around of it and was trimmed with battlements and embrasures.
  • Was filled the pit to equal to the field.
  • It destroyed two large portals.
  • Were demolished two round towers.
  • It demolished the drawbridge and; inside the wall, the garden and the home of the rabbits.
  • The Tower of Homage of San Migel was reduced by half.

After successive inheritance, the ownership of the castle, along with the rest of the town of Xabier, went to the House of Villahermosa. The Castle of Xabier is the target of a massive pilgrimage in early March, in honor of the patron saint of Navarre, popularly known Xabierraldi

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