Every July 6th at 12 noon, millions of people all over the world watch the façade of the City Hall of Pamplona on TV. The media are there to record the spectacular “chupinazo”, the moment when a ceremonial rocket is launched from the building to start the fiesta of San Fermín.
The City Hall is in the heart of the Old Quarter of the city, and its location is not a coincidence. In 1423 King Charles III (“the Noble”) of Navarre enacted a law called “El Privilegio de la Unión” (Privilege of the Union) to put an end to centuries of bickering and confrontations between the three boroughs and located the building on the spot where the three boroughs that existed at the time (Navarrería, San Saturnino and San Nicolás) came together.
The building has been renovated on a few occasions, the last of them being done in the middle of the 18th century. However, none of the changes have affected its beautiful and colorist façade, where the Baroque and neoclassical styles merge.
The City hall stands on the site of a moat, a no-mans-land that effectively belonged to everyone, where the three ancient defensive systems of the city joined up. It was demolished on two occasions, the last in 1951, although its emblematic façade, that gives on to the Plaza Consistorial (part of the Bull Run) and which was designed by the cleric José Zay y Lorda, remained intact.