TOURIST INFORMATION FOR ESLAVA AND THE SURROUNDING AREA
Eslava is in the western central area of Navarra, 57 kilometres south of the region’s capital Pamplona. It is an area of rolling hills nestling between the Pyrenees mountains and the Ribera plain which stretches from south of the valley.
It is a region of agriculture which has shaped the landscape with its fields of cereals, vinyards and olive groves. The village had a population of around 500 in the middle of the 20th century, but nowadays has around 130 permanent inhabitants.
The large number of remains are a reminder of the numerous settlements in the area from the Iron Age to the present day. Eslava was built with a defensive structure typical of the Middle Ages. It was an important centre at that time with a castle, already recorded in the 13th century, which was one of the first to be demolished in 1516 on the orders of Cardinal Cisneros, when Navarra was annexed by the kingdom of Castille. Eslava’s late romanesque church built in the Middle Ages around 1200 still bears testimony to that age and its tower, choir columns, crypt and triumphal arch over the chancel date from that era.
But the jewel in the crown within the boundaries of Eslava is the Roman site of Santa Criz, which is probably one of the most important in Navarra. Still under excavation, a whole town has already been uncovered with a necropolis, an agora, villas, a forum and public squares with columns, capitals and large marble statues.
Eslava was an important seat of the Vascon people and the village grew up alongside the Roman settlement. It is known that the Vascons and Romans worked together and respected each other’s customs and religions and this meant that, above all, the Vascon’s ancient language, Euskera, was preserved. Euskera was still spoken in the area up until the 18th century and it lives on in the names of families, fields and local landmarks.
The Roman city of Santa Criz developped in this environment and the splendour of its constructions, especially those of the first and second centuries CE has been progressively revealed through several series of excavations. Thanks to the joint efforts of various organisations guided visits to the site and the surrounding area are now organised.
A walk around Eslava and the towns and villages of the surrounding area is like taking a stroll through the Middle Ages when visiting the medieval towns such as
Ujue, Gallipienzo, Sos del Rey Catolico, Sangüesa and Olite with its castle, the monastry in Leire, and the Castle in Javier.
Eslava and the area around it also offers visitors beautiful scenery such as the route from Eslava or Lerga to Ujué or to Gallipienzo, the Foz de Lumbier canyon, leisure activities such as walking, cycling, with different levels of difficulty, horseriding, all on very good tracks, fine food, as well as art and culture, especially medieval architecture and archeological sites.
In addition, the area also has a wide range of facilities and services for tourists, such as the covered sports court (frontón) in Lerga, the open air swimming pool in Eslava and Caseda and the covered pool in Sada and as well as bars, restraurants, top quality rural holiday homes and the outstanding country hotel in Gallipienzo.