The Media Luna Park is located next to Avenida Baja Navarra, the northern entrance to the city. From the Media Luna viewpoint we can contemplate the spectacular panoramic views over the city and the meanders of the river Arga, along which the River Park can be found, a popular leisure spot for locals. The Diocesan Seminary will no doubt catch our attention, with its façade shaped as a large, stained glass cross, designed by the very person that created the park where we stand: Víctor Eusa.
Where grasslands and agricultural land once lay, today we find a pretty park in the shape of a half-moon, a natural link between the historical centre and the Segundo Ensanche (Second Expansion). The statue of the King Sancho III the Great welcomes us to this park, with walkways lined with huge trees, its central pond framed by an arcade and its central café. Among the tree species found here are the striking giant sequoias, along with the horse chestnuts, Atlas and Himalayas cedars, and Japanese pagodas, maples and fir trees. Next to the café is the Monument to Pablo Sarasate, created by Eduardo Carretero in 1959. We leave via the San Bartolomé Fort, an impressive 18th century defence structure to the east of the city.
Heading towards the Taconera Gardens, we follow the circular pathway round towards the north. In the shade of the ash trees and maples, we reach the Redín viewpoint or Caballo Blanco Corner , an unparalleled watchtower where we can understand the Renaissance defence system. We are also welcomed by the grove in the Arantzadi Park, the San Pedro Bridge (Roman times), and of course, the Ezkaba mount with the Fort of San Cristóbal.
Continuing west along the Parapet Walk, we reach the Portal Nuevo viewpoint, from where we can enjoy the biodiversity around the Arga: elms, poplars, willows, ash and maple trees, as well as a large variety of birds that visit these groves. Protected species inhabit these waters, such as the European mink and the Palaearctic otter. The former Plazaola Bridge, the train that linked Pamplona to San Sebastian, and its route, have been transformed into a Greenway, used by the EuroVelo 1 - one of the 15 cycle routes that cross Europe, and in this case the route that links the Portuguese Algarve to Norway. At last we have reached the Taconera Park.
ROUTE OF THE PARKS AND GARDENS
The route starts in the Media Luna Park and continues as far as the Taconera Gardens, the Citadel and the Vuelta del Castillo Park, ending up in Yamaguchi Park and the Galaxy Gardens. The following trees can be seen in the Media Luna Park:
Sign 1. Celtis australis - European hackberry
The treetops of these Mediterranean plants make up fresh and luxuriant gardens. Their luscious fruits provide food for birds. They resist well againts air pollution and can live up to 600 years.
Sign 2. GREEN GIANTS. Cedrus deodara - Himalayan cedar and Selim-Pia "El Calzao", the African King
A large tree that can reach a height of 30 metres. Its main branches drop down, giving it a weepy appearance. The wood has a pleasant smell. In some cultures, the tree is a symbol of grandeur and immortality.
Sign 3. Trachycarpus fortunei – Palm tree
This specimen dates back to the first years of the park, when shade was scarce. Nowadays it competes for light with other bigger species such as the hackberry tree or the maple-tree. Originating in China, it has a straight, thick trunk completely covered by remains of petioles of old leaves.
Sign 4. GREEN GIANTS. Cedrus atlantica – Atlas cedar and "Larancha-la", the African Queen
Just like Larancha-La, our African queen, this one other giant is from northern Africa.
Cedar trees may grow as high as a 14-storey building. Try and see if you can sense the aroma of its wood, which is used in carpentry, joinery and construction.
Sign 5. Sequoiadendron giganteum - Giant sequoia
A tall tree reaching a height of between 50 and 80 metres, it has a conical shape and very dense and regular scale-like foliage. These are the biggest species in the plant kingdom, reaching a volume of 1,500 cubic metres of wood per tree.
Sign 6. Platanaceae - Plaintain-tree walk
How many times have you taken shelter under a plaintain-tree? These trees make up fantastic alleys and it is quite common to prune them by cutting the branches and linking them to create a pergola to protect from the sun’s rays.
BIRDS THAT OVERFLY THE CITY
- The kestrel is the public enemy no. 1 of sparrows and other small birds. Its ability to prey on caged birds in balconies and windowsills – and devour them on the spot, is noteworthy.
- Late evening in May and in June you will frequently hear a high-pitched and constant sound, repeated every few seconds, in parks and tree-lined avenues. It is the call of the del scops owl, a small bird of prey which remains silent and still when somebody approaches.
- The swift eats and sleeps whilst flying, tirelessly. Quite fond of cities, you will find it in Pamplona between May and August.
- Blackbirds love to hop on the grass and sing as the sun goes down, with extraordinarily fluty notes.
- Robins are squat birds, their reddish-orange breast being a giveaway.
- The red kite is one of the easiest daytime birds of prey to recognise thanks to its orangey colour. It has a wingspan of 170 centimetres. It flies over the city like a watchman in search of other birds and rodents..
- You will easily recognise serins in tree tops because of their lemon yellow colour.