The digital newspaper Navarra.com echoes our town and our legend of the Mystery of Obanos:
The villagers organize a dramatized representation of the medieval legend.
The most beautiful legend of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela is set in Navarra. This is clear to the people of Obanos. This town represents from time to time the Mystery of Obanos. It is an open-air theatrical representation of this story. For a while it was programmed https://navarra.okdiario.com/articulo/sociedad/navarro-corre-mas-700-kilometros-semanas-visibilizar-causa-social/20201107141445344340.htmbianual, but nowadays it is performed when the organizers consider it feasible to prepare a new edition.
According to legend, Felicia of Aquitaine was returning from Santiago de Compostela after the Jacobean route. During her return, she made a radical decision: she was going to give up her life within the nobility.
In fact, the pilgrim settled in Amocaín, a manor in the Valley of Egüés that is now in ruins. She did so with the firm intention of dedicating her life to the poorest of the poor.
However, his peace of mind was short-lived. Her brother, Duke Guillermo, soon found out about her decision and became furious. He did not hesitate to go to look for her. But she refused to return home. And, in an act of rage, the brother murdered her. He stabbed Princess Felicia with a dagger.
And then a feeling of sadness and guilt overcame the duke. For this reason, Guillermo confessed his crime in Rome. And for this sin he was imposed the penance of a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
On his return, as had happened previously to his sister, he felt the need to renounce his former life. And so she did. He stayed to live in Obanos as a penitent.
In this way, he settled in the church of Nuestra Señora de Arnotegui, on the mountain of the same name. At present, the temple in question is dedicated to him and is known as the hermitage of San Guillermo de Obanos.
This story corresponds to a medieval legend that for many years was transmitted orally in the area. The priest of Obanos Don Santos Beguiristáin wrote the initial text with the title ‘Of the martyrdom of Santa Felicia and the penitence of San Guillén’.
The children of the town read it in the square on Wednesday, April 25, 1962, the eve of the feast of St. William, at ten o’clock at night “around the bonfire of the saint”. The local chronicles report that it was well attended by neighbors.
The success of this first representation led to perfect the text, which was staged again in 1965. It was performed regularly until 1977. After several years of suspension, the tradition was resumed in 1993 and in 2001 it was recognized as a Festival of National Tourist Interest.
For several years, the Mystery of Obanos was held every two years, in the second half of July. At present, the organizers schedule it when they consider it appropriate to hold a new edition. It consists of eight successive days of staging, each day being identical.
Obanos is a town in Navarre, located in the region of Pamplona. More specifically, in the merindad of Valdizarbe. In 2022 it had 938 registered inhabitants. This municipality has four neighborhoods: San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Martín and San Salvador.
In addition to the Mystery of Obanos, the town celebrates its patron saint festivities in August. These are in honor of San Juan Bautista, patron saint of the town.
From Pamplona, this village is easy to reach. Take the Autovía del Camino (A-12) and turn off at exit 18 (Obanos – Puente la Reina Norte).
WHAT TO SEE
Obanos is structured around two squares: the Fueros and San Guillermo. We recommend strolling through the old part of the town, enjoying the beautiful streets and the marked medieval character of the buildings.
Highlights include large stone or brick houses such as: Casa Muzquiz (from the first half of the seventeenth century with a two-story facade structure of ashlar and overhanging eaves), Casa Zabalegui (with semicircular entrance door and a courtyard inside), Casa Tximonco (with semicircular arch and a coat of arms from the nineteenth century) or Casa Don Fidel (with semicircular door and large rococo coat of arms).
It is also advisable to stop and visit the Church of San Juan Bautista, which was restored in 2007. And those who have been captivated by the legend of the Mystery of Obanos cannot leave without visiting the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Arnotegui, also known as the hermitage of San Guillermo. It is only two and a half kilometers from Obanos at the top of the mountain and has a viewpoint with bucolic views.
To the west of the Hermitage of Arnotegui is the fort of Infanta Isabel, it is in ruins with remains of walls and moats.
WHERE TO EAT
The town has several restaurants where visitors can have a drink and a meal:
- Gazolaz Restaurant (948 34 41 41)
- Bar Centro San Guillermo (948 34 46 05)
- Restaurant Los Nogales (948 34 40 71)
WHERE TO SLEEP
If your intention is to stay in the village for more than one day, the town has several accommodations. Here are some of them:
- Albergue de Peregrinos (676 56 09 27).
- Rural apartment Raichu (948 34 42 85 / 686 67 94 15)
- Rural house Eunate (651 60 50 29)
- Rural house Villazon II (620 44 14 67)
- Rural guesthouse Mamerto (948 34 43 44 / 649 13 96 11)