Tourist information in English
Some archaeological remains exist, such as carved stone axes, that have demostreded human presence in Viana for over 200,000 years, although at the present time we can consider that the oldest monument is the Hipogeo de Longar. It is an ancient structure dated between 2850 and 2500 B. C., that served as a burial chamber and is located in the «Alto de los Bojes», about 9km from Viana to the north.
An interesting place is the Celtíberian town of Custodia, destroyed in the Sertorianas Wars between 80-72 B.C. It seems to be Uarakos, the capital of the Celtics tribe, Berones, and predecessor of the Roman town Vareia. The territory is organized in numerous Roman villas.
In the Medieval Age, the population of Viana was dispersed and formed by small and numerous villages: Tidón, Cuevas, Perezuelas…. It was in 1219 when Sancho VII “El Fuerte” decided to found the villa officially granting it Los Fueros known as the Privilege of the Eagle. The villages around soon settled inside the new walls that were provided with strong walls, four entrances and two defensive churches. The Road to Santiago crossed through the main street of the locality. Soldiers, francs, Jews and monks settled soon after.
One of the greatest glories for the villa was the institution of the Principality of Viana, granted by Carlos III the Noble in 1423 for his grandson D. Carlos.
In 1467 Queen Dña. Leonor rewarded Viana with the title of «Very noble & very loyal«. In 1507 Cesare Borgia, the famous soldier of the Italian Renaissance, died in Viana. A marble tomb located in front of the church of Santa Maria conmerates his death on the 11th of March.
Between the XVI and XVIII centuries, Viana enjoyed a time of economic growth with a substantial change in the outer aspect, so that it’s adorned with numerous buildings of Renaissance and Baroque style.
In 1630 Felipe IV granted Viana the title of City. In 1808 the Napoleonic troops took over the city by installing their headquarters in the strategic church of San Pedro. The various Carlist Wars of the XIX century meant a fatal century for Viana, where an important economic decay standed out and lead to the destruction of the Church of San Pedro and the loss of the castle. At the beginning of the XX century, it was difficult to recover the economy.
The civil war and the strong emigration to great cities caused the population to decrease. In 1964 the Programme of Industrial Promotion of Navarre facilitated the installation of numerous factories. At the end of the century, Viana had three industrial areas with more than 90 companies. They emphasized the social improvements with the construction of the Home for the Elderly , the Local Health Centre, the Sport Centre, the Pilgrim Hostel, and the restoration of the Culture House.
Although the XXI century had just begun, it is possible to speak about a socio-economic increase in that period. The major part of the heritage of the city was recovered both in the public and private sector. Some social improvements were also encouraged like the Municipal Nursery Centre, the Leisure Centre “Princes of Viana” or the Cultural Centre Navarro Villoslada.
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SANTA MARIA CHURCH
Gothic construction from the XIII century with cathedral dimensions. Its magnificent altarpiece, from the second half of the XVII century, along with the ambulatory, sacristy, Chapter house, the choir stail, the paintings of Luis Paret and the collections of choir books, chasubles, precious metal and relics, make up a magnificent museum. The outside south façade is an interesting example of stone altarpiece in Renaissance style. Below it we can envisage the tomb of Cesare Borgia.
SAN PEDRO CHURCH
Gothic Church from the XIII century, at the present time it maintains part of the walls of which was its factory and the baroque door.
Sunk in 1844, this fortified church with foundational construction problems was also used as the headquarters for the Napoleonic troops and by both sides in the Carlists Wars.
There is a magnificent viewpoint of the Ebro Valley and it can be contemplated from the San Pedro park.
Baroque building constructed in 1688 by Juan de Raón whose exterior emphasizes with its sobriety and elegance. Restored and enlarged in 2004, it houses the bust of the Patron Saint, Maria Magdalena, in the plenary hall. It conserves in its county archives the Law of the Privilege of the Eagle.
Built in the XV century as a civil hospital of Pilgrims called Our Lady of Grace. After having been used as a basilica for the Brotherhood of the Vera Cruz, it is nowadays used as a Culture House.
BALCONY OF BULLS
Baroque Palace of the XVII Century, also built by the French architect J. de Raón, with the purpose of being a theatre box of honour for the municipal authorities in order to preside the bullfightings in the Coso Square.
SAN FRANCISCO CONVENT
Baroque Convent built in the XVII century. Occupied from the XIX by the Daughters of Charity, it is now the home for the Elderly and Retirement Home.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
The Road to Santiago enters the centre of Viana trought the Trinity entrance and crosses the Rua of Santa Maria and Navarro Villoslada, leaving the city trought the entrance of San Felices