Abárzuza is a small village with about 600 inhabitants and is located 567 metres above sea level, near the Yerri Valley and belonging to the Merindad of Estella, in Navarre.
You can access the village by the Highway 120 that links Estella with Beasain, at kilometre 7. To the North it borders Urbasa, Andía and Zumbeltz, to the East with Lezáun and Yerri and to the West with Allin, Amescoa Baja and Urbasa.
It is 40 kilometres from Pamplona; the access is with the “Autovía del Camino A-12” the motorway A-12 taking exit 34.
The Yerri Valley is at the foot of the Urbasa and Andía mountain range, and the small villages with white and brown houses stand out, amongst grain crops, vineyards and asparagus plantations.
Nature lovers can appreciate its natural parks, such as Urbasa, its Karst landscape, which is created amongst a variety of landforms, which delights the lovers of caving and rock climbing.
Declared a Natural Park in 1997, the most striking features are the beech forests and vast grasslands, which have marked the lives of hundreds of farmers. In the open, where the horses, sheep and cows graze, allows us to walk and enjoy nature, every weekend thousands of people get lost in its paths and trails, along ancient routes.
The main attraction of the mountains that surround Abárzuza, resides in the beauty of its rocky peaks, visible from the whole region. From the top, you can enjoy a landscape of great beauty, where on clear days you can see the Pyrenean line clearly.
History and patrimony
Abárzuza was founded in the eleventh century; however, in 1198 the town belonged to the King of Navarre, Sancho el Fuerte.
It was during this time the monarch donated the land to the Church of Pamplona, reserving the right to summon the residents in the case of war. It was the scene of various violent clashes in the civil wars between 1453 and 1461.
It belonged administratively as a free place as the Yerri Valley until 1851, the date in which separates the liberal administrative reforms. Until then the houses of the rich residents took turns governing, after the separation from the Town Hall of the Yerri Valley, it created its own Town Hall.
The proximity of Estella made it the scene of numerous battles in the Carlist Wars, thus producing in 1874 the famous War of Abárzuza.
The old part of town sits on even ground with straight streets, along which you can see several emblazoned houses, beautiful stone crosses y plazas. There are plenty of old buildings and houses from the sixteenth century, indicating the existence of numerous nobles.
“La Parroquia de La Asunción” The Parish of the Assumption, is Gothic-Renaissance style, built in 1522 taking advantage of the walls of a medieval building. “La Ermita de Santa Bárbara” The Chapel of Saint Barbara (1500) is one of the oldest, and is clearly Gothic style.
“El Monasterio de Iranzu” The Irantzu Monastery is Cistercian style, whose essence goes back to a Benedictine Community, and was rebuilt by the citizens of Abárzuza, and remodelled with assets from the Palaces of Artajona and Arteaga. In the thirteenth century, thanks to the donations from the Kings and Nobles, the monastery received numerous assets and properties for nearly all the Navarre Kingdom, in the mid-fifteenth century, it suffered consequences from the Civil Wars, losing those properties.
In 1839, the monks were forced to leave the monastery, and it was transferred into state ownership. After neglected for more than a century, in 1945 a “Teatinos” Theatines congregation of Clerics was created to restore the building. In 1942, “Principe de Viana” (part of the Navarre government protecting historic buildings and art in Navarre) renovated and remodelled the whole building.
Its structure is very complex and has medieval creations, the most outstanding feature is the setting chosen for its construction.