Welcome to Roncesvalles
History hangs heavily in the air of Roncesvalles (Basque: Orreaga). Legend has it that it was here that the armies of Charlemagne were defeated and Roland, commander of Charlemagne’s rearguard, was killed by Basque tribes in 778. This event is celebrated in the epic 11th-century poem Chanson de Roland (Song of Roland) and is still talked about by today’s Basques. In addition to violence and bloodshed, though, Roncesvalles has long been a key point on the road to Santiago de Compostela, and today Camino pilgrims continue to give thanks at the famous monastery for a successful crossing of the Pyrenees, one of the hardest parts of the Camino de Santiago.
The main event here is the monastery complex, which contains a number of different buildings of interest.