Palacio Real de Olite
The Palacio Real (or Castillo) de Olite, fully Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra de Olite, was a palace and castle of the Kings of Navarre, constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries at Olite, northern Spain. The palace, which still stands, was a major seat of the royal court during the reign of Charles III. Originally a castle, in the 13th century it was amplified into a palace, its residential function predominating over its military. The palace's incoherent, but recognisably Gothic, design stems from its slow progress. Neither its construction nor its expansion were single projects taken up by single kings, rather it each monarch did whatever work he felt was necessary. The principal features of the construction, however, were added around the turn of the 15th century under Charles III. Charles chose to make the palace a permanent royal seat, and strove to decorate it accordingly. Charles added gardens, high curtain walls studded with towers, and moats. In this period the distinction between so-called "New Palace" and the "Old Palace" (now home to the Parador Nacional de Turismo) can first be made. After the conquest of Navarre by Ferdinand the Catholic in 1516, the palace at Olite fell into progressively greater disrepair. After the end of the Reconquista, king Ferdinand and queen Isabella, fearing noble revolts specially in the newly conquered lands, ordered all the castles in their realms to be dismantled (that being the main reason why most castles in Spain are in ruins), and the castle of Olite was abandoned as the seat of the royal authority in Navarre was taken to Pamplona, from which the viceroy of Navarre would gobern the kingdom in the name of the monarchs of Castile. During the Peninsular War, the independentist Francisco Espoz y Mina burned the palace to terrorise the French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte, who had fortified themselves in it. Early in the 20th century the palace began undergoing a restoration, nowadays finished. The architects José and Javier Yárnoz won a contest to oversee the work. The chief goal is to uncover and save the original structure and to make always clear where the building has been restored. Precious interior decoration, as well as the once extensive gardens, have been irretrievably lost. However the lost, the restoration work has retrieved most of the original structure, and the stone-work and the hanging gardens of the Queen of Navarre have been restored.

  • Mariano Carlos Solano y Gálvez, Marqués de Monsalud "El Palacio Real de Olite", Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 49 (1906), pp. 435–447.