| Entrance to Olite, an extensive medieval defensive castle complex known as Palacio Real, which dominates the tiny town of Olite. This castle served as the residence of various Navarran kings until the union with Castille in 1512.
|| Most of the castle was built in 1400 by Carlos III of Navarra. It is a complex of towers, with the centerpiece being Gran torre. Integrated into the castle, like most we visited, is a church, Iglesia de Santa maria la Real. This church contains a detailed gothic portal.
| Arial view of the towers and annexes of the castle. There is also a tremendous excavation inside the building showing small prep rooms, a former guard house. There is also a garden, a vaulted room, Hall of Arches, the Great Tower, Royal Floor, Hall of Plaster, King's Gallery, Queen's Gallery, Periphery Towers, an Ice Store, remains of the Chapel St. Jorge, an aviary garden, a mulberry garden, and an ancient palace, which now houses a Parador.
|| The King had a garden with hanging plants, and exotic fruit trees that were covered by hanging canopies in the winter. An irrigation system was built with lead pipes and a cistern, which allowed water to be let up to the gardens by copper scoops. There were wild animals kept as well. Records show there were lions, a camel, four African buffaloes, a giraffe, squirrels, parrots, and several other wild birds, they built a special aviary to house the birds.
| In the more shaded part of the Palace is an ice store. They stored ice and snow during the winter and were able to keep throughout the hot Olite summer. Here is a close up of some of the gothic work on the church exterior.
|| The entire structure fell into disrepair after after the fall of the monarchy, continued into disrepair, during the war against the French Convention, and the restoration started in the 20th Century.