Should you start the Camino de Santiago in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, you will arrive to a small town 20 kilometres west of Pamplona. This town is called Puente la Reina which translates to Bridge of the Queen. This small Camino town of 2,500 people is located in the state of Navarre and is the point where the French Way meets the Aragonese Route. As a result of the two paths crossing, Puente la Reina has been a major meeting point along the Camino for hundreds of years.
As pilgrims would stop and rest here, the town had many churches built to allow those to worship on The Way. Most of the churches were built during the 12th Century. One of the most famous churches here is the Iglesia de San Pedro or Church of Saint Peter.
The Church of Saint Peter is home to the Statue of Lady of Txori V, a sculpture of the Virgin Mary that was originally housed in the chapel of the Virgen del Puy until 1843 when the building collapsed. The myth around this Virgin is that during the early 19th Century, a txori (meaning bird in Basque) would fly in to clean cobwebs and insects off the sculpture. The legend even boasts that the bird would bring water to delicately wash her face. This phenomenon was cherished by the town’s people and apparently continued until the church found itself in ruins. The Statue of Lady of Txori was then placed in the Church of Saint Peter in Puente la Reina.
Following the Camino out of Puente la Reina, you pass over a stunning Romanesque bridge dating back to the 11th Century. The bridge was built by the medieval queen of King Sancho the Great to help pilgrims pass the River Arga that runs beneath, albeit with a statutory toll. The bridge spans 110 meters with 6 beautiful arches and, of course, is the bridge that the town was named for.
This is one of our favorite bridges on The Way and is still functioning today. If you time it right, you can capture the town, it’s pilgrims and the bridge reflecting perfectly in the small river below, ideal for those self-reflective moments so desired whilst walking to Santiago de Compostela.
Puente la Reina – The Roman Bridge. (2016, March 03). Retrieved January 10, 2017, from http://santiagodecompostela.co.uk/puente-la-reina-the-roman-bridge/
Puente de la Reina. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2017, from http://www.whatpamplona.com/puente-de-la-reina-trip.html