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Palacio Real de Olite

Located in Olite, Spain, building began on the Palacio Real de Olite in the 13th century and was originally a castle for the Kings of Navarre (originally Pamplona).

The palace was first built as a military fortress, but soon became the royal residence of kings, and is more commonly called a palace instead of a castle, but it is still sometimes referred to as the Castle of Olite. The Palacio Real de Olite is of Gothic design, and was built slowly over the years. The greatest contribution to the palace was made during the reign of King Charles III, who added many of the decorative elements, as well as high walls, a moat, towers, and the palace gardens.

In 1516, Navarre was defeated by Ferdinand the Catholic, and the Palacio Real de Olite began to suffer from neglect. In the Peninsula War, the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte holed themselves up in the palace when General Francisco Espoz y Mina, a known strategist, set the Palacio Real de Olite on fire to frighten and dishearten the French troops.

The Palacio Real de Olite is well worth a visit, and the medieval royal chapel next door is also a must see.

Large photo of Palacio Real de Olite above courtesy of Alex Kilem Smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of José Luis Filpo Cabana, Josep Renalias and Eaeaea.