Roncesvalles General (Video)

Roncesvalles (known as Orreaga in Basque and Roncevaux in French) is a village in northern Spain near the French border that has historical, religious, and legendary significance. There, in 778, Basque tribes defeated Charlemagne's rear guard and killed its commander, Roland, in the battle of Roncevaux Pass. In La Chanson de Roland, the epic French poem and oldest surviving major work of French literature that dates to the twelfth century, the Basques had become Saracens who Charlemagne was struggling to expel from Europe. The stone marker on the spot where Roland is thought to have been killed is now somewhat covered by political graffiti, including the letters ETA, which stands for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna ("Basque Homeland and Freedom”), an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization.

The area features the very attractive collegiate church with wonderful stained glass windows. The first resting place after crossing the French Pyrenees, it is a favorite destination for Catholic pilgrims traveling along the Camino de Santiago. Every year, thousands begin their journey to Santiago de Compostela at Roncesvalles.

Click on the image below to see footage from September 2010.

Photo Credits
Spain Map: NordNordWest 
Roncesvalles Collegiate Church: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen 
ETA Poster: Theklan 
Mort de Roland: Jean Fouquet 1420-1480