Tucked away in the northern corner of Spain, sharing a 163 km stretch of border with France and a western border with the Basque Country, Navarra is one of Spain’s undiscovered autonomous communities. Literally and metaphorically, this is Green Spain – as this area leads Europe with its use of renewable energy technology – mainly from wind farms and solar energy, although Navarra has the most complete gas distribution system in Spain along with biomass and water energy centres.
Geography of Navarra Region
Navarra is generally divided into three distinct regions, from the north to the south – the mountains, the central Zone and the Ribera, on the banks of the Ebro. The Western Pyrenees make a natural frontier with France in the north, sloping down from the east to the west, and the Ebro crosses the south of the region, providing an extensive canal system.
History of Navarra Region
Before the Romans established themselves in Spain, Navarra was inhabited by a tribe known as the Vascones, who managed to keep hold of their independence, language and traditions during Roman, Visigoth and Moorish times. The actual Kingdom of Navarra was fully established in 824 and, at one time, included parts of La Rioja, the Basque country, Cantabria, Aragón and Castilla y León within its boundaries. The majority of the area was absorbed into Spain in 1512, although a small part of the territory was claimed by France. Even at this time, though, the area was given some degree of autonomy, which it kept even during the very centralised rule of General Franco.
Map of Navarra Region
Language of Navarra
Spanish and Basque are the official languages of the region, although it is in the north west of the area that the majority of Basque speakers can be found. The southern areas are almost entirely Spanish speaking whereas the region’s capital, Pamplona, is officially ‘mixed’.
Economy of Navarra Region
The main industrial centres can be found in and around Pamplona and most agricultural activity is in the Ebro valley, with wheat, vegetables, olive trees and wine being the major products grown. There is still a good deal of dairy farming. The distributive trades and hotels and catering are particularly well-represented in the services sector.
Climate of Navarra Region
With the influence of the Pyrenees in the north and the Ebro valley in the south, there are clearly significant differences in climate between different parts of Navarra. The average rainfall in the north is high, spread throughout the year, and there can also be snow here. The summers are known to be rather humid. Further south, the climate is more Mediterranean in nature, with higher temperatures and much less rainfall.
See also: Navarra Tourism