The capital and ancient city of Navarra lies at the foot of the Pyrenees. The Romans named it Pampaelo when it was founded in 75BC by their General Pompeius Magnus. Later came the Goths and then the Moors who launched unsuccessful attacks into France in 732 AD before Charlemagne pushed them back south of Pamplona in 778. Regular conflicts followed between Navarra and either the Castilians or French for the next millennia, while it profited from the floods of Pilgrims wending their way to the tomb of St James at Santiago in Galicia.
This fine city is most famous for its Fiesta de San Fermin in early July, 6 days of fun and fear when the bulls for the day's Corrida are driven through the streets to the Plaza de Toros while large numbers of young people confront them or run alongside risking serious injury on their way to the Bullring. Celebrations began on the first day with a procession of floats and people wearing Big Heads or on stilts or both, thereafter the days descend into raucous sessions of eating, drinking and dancing, all of which was so graphically described by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. People travel from all over the world to take part, some coming almost every year.
The heart of the city is the Plaza del Castillo, which is the focal point for many of the city's features such as the Ramblas [Paseo de Sarasate], which leads to the Ciudadela [Citadel] and its park, the Palacio de Navarra [Provincial Government building] and a delightful assortment of cafes and excellent restaurants. Beyond, in different directions are the City Hall, the impressive Cathedral and Museo de Navarra. With its proximity to the Pyrenees and Basque Country aswell as delightful surrounding countryside, this city should be high on anybody's itinerary.