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Strange figures.

Camino(s) past & future
First camino beginning September 2018
#1
While in Pamplona (September 2018)I did a bit of sightseeing. Just past the Catedral Santa Maria, there's a park with benches, fountains etc. Just beyond the park I came across a short lane and this image. Anyone know what this figure and the writing mean?
 

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Camino(s) past & future
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#2
They are amazing gargoyles. We have them on many medieval churches in England. But I have no idea why they should be on that building - unless it was once a church?
 

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Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
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#3
Apparently Zugarrondoa is the Basque name for the elm tree. There used to be a famous one in the area and it gave the name to the plaza and the surrounding district. The little plaque on the wall says "Euskal Herria" which is a very old term for the Basque Country. The swastika-like symbol on it is a traditional symbol in Basque art representing the region and is called the lauburu: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauburu No idea why the wooden grotesque is there but he is very photogenic :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#5
I think that the wooden sculpture is modern. The house is in a picturesque street on the way to the Caballo Blanco restaurant. I am sure that I walked through this street. Below are some images, the second one shows the house before the sculpture and other items were added. The house was renovated in 2012. The sculpture is perhaps inspired by the grotesque faces one can see on Romanesque capitals and corbels or in fact by Gothic gargoyles as already mentioned. It looks like a dragon with wings. Basque mythology? Definitely a very Basque house. Intriguing.

Dragon?.jpeg
Calle del Redin old and new.jpeg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
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#6
The plant that is fixed on the wall above the door of the house is a dried silver thistle and part of Basque culture and traditions. It was said to ward off evil spirits during the night. Supposedly because it resembles the sun and makes the evil spirits believe that it is daylight instead of night.

Here's another one. The Basque name is eguzkilore. Nailing it to one's door became apparently fashionable again in recent time. Another potent symbol of Basque identity.

Eguzkilore.jpeg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
First camino beginning September 2018
#8
They are amazing gargoyles. We have them on many medieval churches in England. But I have no idea why they should be on that building - unless it was once a church?
Really did not look like a church building to me. The building has a small barred window too, and my first thought was, Aha, an old-time jail?
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#10
It looks like a dragon with wings.
Maybe the wooden sculpture is not a dragon with wings but a lion with a tail in reference to the coat of arms of Pamplona city - you can spot this symbol quite a few times in Pamplona; the same lion appears also in the coat of arms of Euskal Herria (Greater Basque Country). That would perhaps make sense. There are also symbols carved into the wooden door lintels, one of them is a fleur de lys and another one has the shape of an eagle as used in heraldry.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#13
The plant that is fixed on the wall above the door of the house is a dried silver thistle and part of Basque culture and traditions. It was said to ward off evil spirits during the night. Supposedly because it resembles the sun and makes the evil spirits believe that it is daylight instead of night.

Here's another one. The Basque name is eguzkilore. Nailing it to one's door became apparently fashionable again in recent time. Another potent symbol of Basque identity.

View attachment 49696
Apparently the superstition of using thistles is not limited to Basque culture. I snapped this picture on the Le Puy route in Saint Come D'Olt last June. Screenshot_2018-12-08-22-53-13.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#14
There are also symbols carved into the wooden door lintels, one of them is a fleur de lys and another one has the shape of an eagle as used in heraldry.
Looking at the carvings on the lintel above the two doors and at a coat of arms in the Pamplona town hall make me think that all these elements on the house, including the wooden sculpture, are modern references to the history of Pamplona and Navarra. But unless someone rings the bell and asks we will probably never know. Anyone? It's very close to the cathedral. 😎

Lys Eagle Pamplona.jpeg

Pamplona town hall.jpeg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
First camino beginning September 2018
#15
I think that the wooden sculpture is modern. The house is in a picturesque street on the way to the Caballo Blanco restaurant. I am sure that I walked through this street. Below are some images, the second one shows the house before the sculpture and other items were added. The house was renovated in 2012. The sculpture is perhaps inspired by the grotesque faces one can see on Romanesque capitals and corbels or in fact by Gothic gargoyles as already mentioned. It looks like a dragon with wings. Basque mythology? Definitely a very Basque house. Intriguing.

View attachment 49682
View attachment 49728
Yes, you probably did. The street is the same one I walked from what I recall. . But there were so many tourists just after this sculpture that I walked back the way I'd come.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First camino beginning September 2018
#16
These iron bars in front of a ground floor window or door say Spain to me, not jail :). I think they serve to keep people and dogs out - not in - when the window or door is open.
OH? I saw bars and thought, perhaps a prison? Thanks for the explanation. I had asked Pilgrims about it and not answer was forthcoming. Even the manager of the Albergue where I stayed did not know. So thanks for putting me straight.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#17
I had asked Pilgrims about it and no answer was forthcoming. Even the manager of the Albergue where I stayed did not know.
I could not find anything about the house in this well known and often photographed street that would indicate that it was once a prison. It looks like a typical Basque house to me. Below is a Wikipedia photo of a typical Basque farmhouse. Here, too, you can see iron bars in front of the two ground floor windows.

The Pamplona house reminded me of the hotel in Akerreta just after Larrasoaña; it's a beautifully restored old farmhouse. The owner told us that the ground floor which now houses the reception and the restaurant etc used to be the stables or barn, ie it had the traditional layout of such houses. The house in Pamplona may have had a similar arrangement, ie the ground floor was not used as living quarters.

@Travelite, you post interesting questions 🙂, I love it when I can learn something new about things along the road I've walked.

Bidarray_Maison.jpg
 
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