At our feet, although the trees obscure the view, lies the river; archaeological excavations carried out around it have revealed stone tools which indicate a human presence here for about 75,000 years. The human population has been stable since at least the first millennium before Christ: the Vascones, on the foundation of whose surviving language and culture the city has developed right up to the present day. In 75 B.C. the Roman general Pompey the Great founded a Roman city on top of this Vasconic settlement; the arrival of the Empire and Latin, mixed with Basque, gave rise to the name of Pamplona.
If you take a good look at the wall in front of us, you should be able to see a stretch with herringbone brickwork, known as Opus spicatum, a popular building style prior to AD 1000. It may date from the Carolingian period, a key point in the history of the Kingdom of Pamplona-Navarre.
It was the year 778. The Frankish emperor Charlemagne gave his troops free rein to destroy the defences and plunder the city. Following the fall of the Roman empire, these were turbulent times. The Vascones were desperate not to disappear under the pressure exerted by the Franks from the north, Umayyads from the south and Astures from the west.
It was in these circumstances that Charlemagne attacked the city on his return from the siege of Zaragoza. Days later the Vascones defeated his army in the Pyrenean passes of Roncesvalles. That event marked the beginning of the legal-political construction of Vasconia as the Kingdom of Pamplona, later to become the Kingdom of Navarre.
Dirección: Ronda Obispo Barbazán, s/n. 31001 Pamplona - Iruña