Roncesvalles ( , , ) is a
small village and municipality of
northern Spain (Navarrese Towns), in the
province of Navarre.
situated on the small river Urrobi at an
altitude of 900 meters (2,950 ft.) among the Pyrenees, and within
five miles of the French
The small church at Roncesvalles
Population in 2007 was 24.
Roncesvalles is famous in history and legend
for the defeat of Charlemagne and the
death of Roland in 778, during the battle of
Roncevaux Pass, when Charlemagne's rear
guard was destroyed by Basque tribes.
The small collegiate church
contains several curious relics
with Roland. The battle is said to have been fought in the
picturesque valley known as Valcarlos, which is now occupied by a hamlet bearing the same
name, and in the adjoining pass of Ibañeta (Roncevaux Pass). Both of these are traversed by the main road
leading north from Roncesvalles to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the French Basque Country.
Middle Ages, this collegiate church has
been a favorite resting place for Catholic
pilgrims along the Way of St.
James, since it is the first place to have a rest after
crossing the French Pyrenees. Every year thousands
of pilgrims begin their way to Santiago de Compostela at Roncesvalles.