Artajona

Artajona is a small village completely surrounded by medieval towers and fortified walls, known as El Cerco de Artajona (“The Walls of Artajona”). This wall was built in the 11th century. It forms one of the most important defenses of medieval Navarre that still exists today. A trip to Navarra is not complete without a visit to Artajona. Other important defenses near Artajona are the Castle of Olite and the fortress of UjuéLocated a little further, 66 kilometers away, there is the Castle of Javier, which also played an important role in the defense of Navarre.

Originally, this wall consisted of 17 towers, of which 9 are still standing. It served as protection for it Kingdom of Navarre against numerous annexation attempts by Castile. The Kingdom of Castile was one of the most important kingdoms in Spain during the Middle Ages. Furthermore, this wall helped Artajona become an independent kingdom between 1153 and 1158.

Vijf middeleeuwse verdedigingstorens in Artaona
Artajona's “Cerco”.

What to see in Artajona

Artajona houses besides the Cerco and the winding medieval streets several other notable buildings. One of these notable structures is the Church of San Saturnino, which was built in the 18th century. This church is unique because it is the only one in the world where the bells are rung backwards. Since 1896 it has also been one tradition in Navarre that all the bell-ringers of Navarre have once rang the bells of Artajona.

Kerk met bomen en gras aan de voorkant
Church of San Saturnino

The church is located at the highest point of the village and offers views over the whole village. From the Church of San Saturnino, the other church in the village is visible, namely the Church of San Pedro.

Uitzicht van Artajona, met veel daken, een kerk en veel wolken
View of the village of Artajona from the church

Just outside Artajona, in the northern part of the city near the Church of San Saturnino, is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Jerusalén (“Basilica of Our Lady of Jerusalem”), built between 1709 and 1714. Entering the basilica, you can admire a Romanesque statue of the Virgin of Jerusalem. This virgin is the patron saint of Artajona. This statue is striking because of its modest size. To enjoy the patron saint of Artajona, the monks who live in an adjacent building leave the key to access this basilica.

Basiliek in Artajona met een houten deur en drie ramen
The Basilica of Our Lady of Jerusalem

What to do in Artajona

In addition to historic buildings, this village offers a free escape room for entertainment with the whole family called El secreto de Artajona (“The Secret of Artajona”). This escape room can be played via your smartphone. It starts at the bottom of the village, then takes you through the main streets and buildings. The downside is that this escape room is only available in Spanish. It is therefore necessary that someone can understand the Spanish language to participate.

At the end of August, Artajona organizes a unique event that brings the village back to the Middle Ages. The inhabitants dress in clothing that was worn in the Middle Ages. There are various activities to do during this event. For example, visitors can taste all kinds of typical Navarrese products in the craft markets. There are also falconry shows, an exhibition with knights on horseback carrying medieval lances and various guided tours.

Dolmens

The dolmens are located just 4 kilometers from Artajona Portillo de Eneriz and of the Mine of Faranagortea. These are two of the rare examples of gallery tombs with perforated doors, a specific tomb architecture typical of several areas around the western Mediterranean.

Recommended accommodations near Artajona

To complete the experience of Artajona, it is nice to be able to spend the night within the city walls. Our recommended accommodations are therefore rustic stays, which help you experience the tranquility and history of Artajona. These accommodations are perfectly located to enjoy the village and the region.
Accomodatie Casa Rural Sancho

Recommended restaurants

Our first recommendation is Asador El Cerco, with simple but tasty typical Navarrese dishes and specialized in grilled meat. Also located in Artajona is the Restaurante Kutximangi, with both pintxos (“small tapas”) and bocatas (“sandwiches”) as well as a daily menu with typical Navarrese dishes.    

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