The Royal Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles was built in the French Gothic style. King Sancho VII built this church in the 13th century as part of the hospital’s facilities in Roncesvalles; its purpose was to provide succour to pilgrims on the Way of Saint James after crossing the Pyrenees. Highlights include the cloister, the chapel of San Agustín, the chapel of Santiago and the crypt, consisting of a straight section of barrel vault and a pentagonal apse. The walls and vaults are covered in mural paintings dating from the 13th century. The art treasures of the Royal collegiate church are housed in a museum in one of the rooms in the church, and include a particularly interesting collection of precious metalwork, exhibited in six display cases. Also outstanding is a chess set belonging to the Emperor Charlemagne, a Renaissance silver chest and a silver-plated wooden statue of the Virgin and Child. There is also a selection of paintings, books and sculptures.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.