Xavier Castle

Javier, Spain

The Castle of Xavier (Castillo de Javier) is located on a hill in the town of Javier. Built in the 10th century, this castle was the birthplace and childhood home of Saint Francis Xavier, son of the Lords of Xavier, hence his surname. The town of Javier belonged to the Kingdom of Navarre which was always its own kingdom, never belonging to France.

The castle consists of three buildings with different antiquity. The Tower of the Kristo Santua is the main fortified building and chapel, holding an interesting Late Gothic crucifix and a series of murals depicting the dance of the death, unique in Spain. The Tower of Homage, call also the San Miguel Tower, is the oldest in the castle. It also harbors the museum dedicated to the life of the saint. In its foundations Muslim vestiges have been unveiled, possibly dating from the 10th century. In the 11th century, the first enclosure that sheltered the early surround rooms. In the 13th century, two polygonal bodies and two flanking towers were added in all four cardinal directions.

In the 1890s the castle was donated by its owner, Duquesa de Villahermosa, to the Jesuit Order, which intended to turn it into a missionary centre. They decided to build an adjacent basilica; it was designed by the local architect Angel Goicoechea and completed by the Navarrese contractor, Blas Morte.

History

The castle and village of Xavier were won by Sancho VII of Navarre in approximately 1223. An Aragonese noble got a loan of 9,000 sols from the King of Navarre, with the latter receiving Xavier as a warranty. The Aragonese noble could not afford to pay in due time, so the stronghold became property of Sancho. It was not the first time nor the last, since Sancho VII was one of the major lenders to the Crown of Aragon, and took over a number of villages and castles in return for his unpaid loans that notably strengthed of his border with Aragon: Escó, Peña, Petilla, Gallur, Trasmoz, Sádaba, etc.

In 1236 the castle was handed over by King Theobald I to Adán de Sada.

Before the Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre, the castle belonged to Maria Azpilikueta, native of Baztan Valley, married to Joanes Jatsukoa, parents, amongst others, of Francis Xavier, whose family defended the independence of the kingdom. For this reason, the Spanish regent Cardinal Cisneros ordered the complete demolition of the castle in 1516, but only held a topping of the strong part of it.

After successive inheritance, the ownership of the castle, along with the rest of the town of Javier, went to the House of Villahermosa.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yvette Bessels (15 months ago)
Beautiful castle that grew from a single tower. Not very large. Interesting artworks, including scenes from the dance of death
Maxim Mosharov (16 months ago)
Great old castle, museum was small but was good. Probably would take around 1 hour to see all of it including towers.
Jared Duarte (17 months ago)
Stunning beautiful and very spiritual. Really awe-inspiring. A must visit. You can learn more about a truly inspiring Saint...Francis Xavier
Rijo Paul (21 months ago)
The birth place of the great Saint. Francis Xavier.
Iain (2 years ago)
It's OK. Not the greatest castle ever. Thought there might be a nice view over the embalse de yesa, but no such luck
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.

Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.

Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.

Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.

The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.