The realm of Navarre is a land of castles. Many forts were built in the Middle Ages, most of which were pulled down in 1516 by order of Cardinal Cisneros. Xavier´s Castles is one of the many forts that can still be admired today. The Castle-Palace, which dates back to the 10 C, originated from a vantagepoint or watchtower. With the passing of the years, the lords of the tower added different defensive enclosures that gradually gave form to the present construction.
In 1516 Cardinal Cisneros ordered the dismantlement of the castle, which was restored years later. Xavier´s fort is commonly known as the saint´s home. The saint´s bedroom can still be seen, along with a crucifix which, popular tradition tells, sweated blood when the missionary died in China. Today the castle has become a place of religious pilgrimage.
The construction is divided into different areas; the main doorway, accessible by a drawbridge spanning the moat; the Parade Ground, with a well; the postern, located at the end of the patio, that leads to the interior of the building; Christ´s oratory, situated to the right of Saint Christ´s tower, whose walls are decorated with frescoes of the Dance of Death; the Keep, also called St. Miguel´s tower; the Great Hall, across from the oratory; the old dining room, the kitchen, the chimney and the living room, whose walls display some examples of Spanish and Flemish painting; and the Chaplains´Hall, used as home for these religious since the 17 C. Next to the castle is the Neo-Gothic Basilica of Anunciación, built in the 17 C, which contains a beautiful Rococo retable.