Erriberriko Errege Jauregia

( Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite )

The Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite or Royal Palace of Olite is a castle-palace in the town of Olite, in Navarre, Spain. It was one of the seats of the Court of the Kingdom of Navarre, since the reign of Charles III "the Noble" until its conquest by Castile (1512).

Surely there is no king with a more beautiful castle or palace and with so many gilded rooms (...) it could not say or even could imagine how magnificent and sumptuous is this palace (...)

This monument was quite damaged (except the church) in 1813 by a fire caused by general Espoz y Mina during the Napoleonic French Invasion to prevent its occupation by French troops. It was largely restored from 1937 in works that lasted for 30 years giving it back its original appearance. Nevertheless, miscellaneous architectural decoration of its interior, and the outside gardens, were lost.

The fortification is both castle and palace, although it was built more like a courtier building to fulfil a military function. Since the 13th-century the Castle of Olite has been called the Palace of the King of Navarre.

On an ancient Roman fortification was built during the reign of Sancho VII of Navarre "the Strong" (13th century) and extended by his successors Theobald I and Theobald II, which the latter was is installed in the palace in 1269 and there he signed the consent letter for the wedding of Blanche of Artois with his brother Henry I of Navarre, who in turn, Henry I since 1271 used the palace as a temporary residence. This ancient area is known as the Old Palace.

At this time the Navarrese court was traveling, so it can not consider this palace as royal seat during that time, as the castle was occupied intermittently by kings according to their preferences. So it had the presence of King Charles II of Navarre in 1380, 1381 and 1384.

Then the palace was housing the Navarrese court from the 14th until 16th centuries, Since the annexation (integration) of the kingdom of Navarre for the Crown of Castile in 1512 began the decline of the castle and therefore its practically neglect and deterioration. At that time it was an official residence for the Viceroys of Navarre.

 The Royal Palace was burned extensively, but not the church among other elements, in 1813 during the Napoleonic French Invasion. After it was completelly rehabilitated in 1967 with original stones. Here see a painting of the Royal Palace's condition in 1866.

In 1813 Navarrese guerrilla fighter Espoz y Mina during the Napoleonic French Invasion burned the palace with the aim to French could not make forts in it, which almost brought in ruin. It is since 1937 when architects José and Javier Yarnoz Larrosa began the rehabilitation (except the non-damaged church) for the castle palace, giving it back its original appearance and see today. The restoration work was completed in 1967 and was paid by the Foral Government of Navarre.

Photographies by:
Consuelo Fernandez - CC BY-SA 4.0
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