Castle of Xavier

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Castle of Xavier.
The basilica next to the castle.
Coat of the Lords of Xavier, now shield the town of Javier.

The Castle of Xavier (in Basque: Xabierko Gaztelua; in Spanish: Castillo de Javier) is located on a hill in the town of Javier (Navarre, Spain), to 52 km east of Pamplona and 7 km east of Sangüesa. Built in the 10th century, this castle was the birthplace and childhood home of Saint Francis Xavier, son of the Lords of Xavier, and from there took his surname.


The name Xavier derives from the Basque Etxeberri or new house, which in its evolution became Javier.


Consists of three, successively staggered in order of antiquity. Highlight the "Tower of the Kristo Santuaren", stronghold and chapel where there is an interesting Late Gothic crucifix and a series of murals depicting the dance of the death, unique in Spain, the "Tower of Homage" call it San Miguel (the oldest of the castle) and the museum dedicated to the life of the saint. In its foundations and bases there are Muslims traces that could be of the 10th century. In the 11th century was formed the first enclosure that sheltered the early surround rooms. In the 13th century were added, for the four orientations, two polygonal bodies and two flanking towers.


The castle and village of Xavier were won by Sancho VII of Navarre around the year 1223. A Aragonese noble had given as warranty for a loan of 9,000 sols that awarded the King of Navarre, but at the end of the period and can not afford to pay, became property of Sancho. It was not the first time, or last, as Sancho VII was one of the major lenders to the Crown of Aragon, and through to loans not returned, seized a number of villages and castles delivered as backing that helped strengthen its border with Aragon: Escó, Peña, Petilla, Gallur, Trasmoz, Sádaba, etc.

In 1236 the castle was handed over by King Theobald I to Adán de Sada.

Before the Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre, the castle belonged to Maria Azpilikueta, native of Baztan Valley, married to Joanes Jatsukoa, parents, amongst others, of Francis Xavier, whose family defended the independence of the kingdom. For this reason, after the Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre, Spanish Governor Cardinal Cisneros ordered the complete demolition of the castle in 1516, but only held a topping of the strong part of it:[1]

  • All the walls around it which were trimmed with battlements and embrasures were knocked down.
  • The pit was filled in equal to the field.
  • Two large portals were destroyed.
  • Two round towers were demolished.
  • The drawbridge and, inside the wall, the garden and the rabbit hutch were razed.
  • The Tower of Homage to San Miguel was reduced by half.

After successive inheritance, the ownership of the castle, along with the rest of the town of Javier, went to the House of Villahermosa.

The Castle of Xavier is the target of a massive pilgrimage in early March, in honor of the patron saint of Navarre.


  1. ^ Iñaki Sagredo Garde. "Navarre. Castles which defended the Kingdom". 2006

Coordinates: 42°35′39″N 1°12′57″W / 42.59417°N 1.21583°W / 42.59417; -1.21583