High up on a mountain of the same name, a short drive east along a secondary road from Olite, Ujúe seems plucked from the Middle Ages. Built as a defensive town, it has cobbled streets and stone houses clustered around its fortress Church of Santa María, dating from the 12th to the 14th centuries. The heart of King Charles II ("the Bad") was placed to rest here. The church towers open onto views of the countryside, extending to Olite in the west and the Pyrenees in the east.
On the Sunday after St. Mark's Day (Apr 25), Ujúe is an important pilgrimage center for the people of the area, many of whom, barefoot and wearing tunics, carry large crosses. They come to Ujúe to worship Santa María, depicted on a Romanesque statue dating from 1190. It was plated in silver during the second half of the 15th century.
If you have a car, you might also check out the Monasterio de la Oliva (tel. 94-872-50-06), 34km (21 miles) south of Olite. It was founded by King García Ramírez in 1164 and is an excellent example of Cistercian architecture. This monastery, one of the first to be constructed by French monks outside France, once had great influence; today the most notable feature is its 14th-century Gothic cloisters. The late-12th-century church is even more impressive than the cloisters. It has a distinguished portal and two rose windows. Pillars and pointed arches fill its interior. It's open daily from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 3:30 to 6pm. Guided visits are available.
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