As the legend says, the Virgin of Ujué appeared in a cave, where a pigeon got in and out. A shepherd who saw this pigeon every day wondered what was in the cave, so, one day he went into the cave and found a figure of the Virgin Mary. Full of joy, he took it and put it in the church, which was already built. The next day, however, the Virgin wasn´t there. The figure was back to the cave from where it had been taken. Once more, they brought it to the church and once more it disappeared, so they decided to build a church in the cave. The old part of Ujué, which was located in the flat part was moved to the actual place, on top of the mountain, from where the whole plain of Ujué can be seen.

The old name for the village is Uxue. We don´t know exactly the source of the population because there were Vascon people living there before the Romans.

In the spring of 2009, in the romanic head of the church, another pre- roman church was found. The romanization was strong in Uxue. Near the hermitage of “La Blanca” two altars were found. One of them was dedicated to Jupiter and the other one to a native divinity called Lacubegi. It seems that the actual village starts at the end of the VIII th century or beginning of the IX th, when Iñigo Arista built the primitive castle- fortress to fight against the Muslims. During the centuries IX and X appears the name of St. Mary as a border fortress in the mountains. In the centuries IX, X and XI is when the name of Ussue appears and in the XII th century it appears as St. Mary of Uxua.

The fortress and village are constituted in 1076. In this year, under Sancho Ramírez, the first King of Navarra and Aragón founded the church of St. Mary. Alfonso el Batallador conquered the kingdoms of Tudela and Zaragoza thirty years later, and without the threat of the Muslims Ujué falls into decay. Some of its inhabitants emigrated. When the Evreux become kings, Ujué recovers its importance, because the kings Carlos II “ el Malo” and his son Carlos III “ el Noble” show their predilection for Ujué. Carlos II built the gothic church and tried to build a university ( the works started but were abandoned). He covered the Virgin with silver. This king left his heart to the village of Ujué and is now kept near the Virgin.

Carlos III “ el Noble” organized the pilgrimage to Ujué from the court in Olite. His daughter Blanca de Navarra continued with the pilgrimage. She wanted to be buried in Ujué, but that didn´t happen, maybe due to the civil wars.

Leonor, sister of Blanca de Navarra tried to stop the decay of Ujué and opposed to cardinal Cisneros when he tried to demolish the church and the fortress.

After the conquer of Navarra by Castilla, there was a new rising of the population of Ujué. In 1533 Uxue saw its population growing until the end of the XVIII th century. It already had 170 houses. At the end of the XVI th century, Pope Clement included the church of Ujué in the bishopric of Pamplona.

The sanctuary of Ujué was attended by the clergy of St. Agustin until the XVIII th century, when the priests were secular. The name of Pritores was given then to the priests by Pope Pio V.

Ujué continued growing and in 1818 it´s one of the wealthiest villages. This growth continues during the first two decades of the XX th century, reaching the 1500 inhabitants in 1929.

© 2011
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