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Church of St. Pedro de la Rúa

  • iglesia san pedro de la rua

The church of St. Pedro de la Rúa, the largest and oldest in Estella, was built between the last quarter of the 12 C and the beginning of the 13 C. It combines the Romanesque and Cistercian styles. The church stands by the Route of Santiago, on a cliff spur that dominates the city. In 1256 it was declared Major Church of Estella. In its interior the monarchs used to swear allegiance to the laws and privileges of this noble town.

The temple has an irregular ground plan. It has three naves -the Evangelist aisle being the most remarkable-, triple chancel with three semicircular apses and two prismatic towers. The main nave is covered by lunette vaulting ( 17 C ), and the side aisles by plain groined vaults from the 14 C. The north doorway, splayed, shows pointed archivolts and is decorated with sculptures that retain their original polychromy.

The cloister ( 1170 ) shows features from the late Romanesque and is part of the rich Romanesque heritage in Navarre. It originally had four galleries, but lost two when the nearby castle was blown up in 1572. The two that have come down to us, the north and west galleries, have semicircular archs over coupled columns with historiated capitals. During the Middles Ages it served as a graveyard for pilgrims. In it was buried the Bishop of Patras who carried a relic for Santiago Apostle when death struck him. This relic is contained in a silver reliquary that is also in the church.

The temple treasures many works of art, including the sculptures of St. Adrew and St. Peter, a Romanesque virgin, a Gothic statue of Our Lady of O, the Romanesque choir stalls and the font.