Situated on the edge of the Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) of Pamplona, in the same site that the old Roman city of Pompaelo once stood, is Pamplona Cathedral, a fine example of the Gothic period (14th and 15th centuries). This symbolic monument houses the largest number of historic and artistic relics in the city. Kings were crowned and Parliaments convened in the cathedral; indeed, it was the seat of the royal court for three centuries.
The sobriety of its neoclassical façade, a work by Ventura Rodríguez, contrasts with the Gothic interior, where the 28-metre-high central nave is home to the fine tomb of Carlos III of Navarre and his wife, Eleanor of Castile. However, the real jewel of this cathedral is its cloister, considered among the most beautiful in the Gothic world, a must-see on every visitor’s itinerary.
Since the foundation of Pamplona in Roman times, the site of the cathedral has always been chosen as the location for the main Christian church in the city. It was on this very spot that Carlos III ‘el Noble’ ordered the construction of the present building in the purest Gothic style, inspired by other wonderful Gothic cathedrals such as that of Bayonne, in France. Its location, on the route taken by pilgrims on their way to Santiago, dictated that its apse would be polygonal in shape, with an ambulatory, characteristic of churches on the Pilgrim’s Way.