Monument to the Charter of Navarre

The monument to the Charter of Navarre (Los Fueros) stands at the eastern end of the Paseo de Sarasate parade. A structure in the form of a cube shaped temple, organised into two bodies, on an exceedingly high pedestal and, finally, the column supporting the female statue, a lost-wax bronze casting. The pentagonal base, constructed in Tafalla stone, features five sets of steps, between which there are chains hanging from small pillars, symbolising the shield of Navarre. Supported on this base is the first body of the monument, constructed with Almándoz stone and featuring, on each of its five sides, a bronze plaque with inscriptions referring to the freedoms of Navarre. Three of these inscriptions are written in Spanish, the fourth in Basque and the last is also in Basque but with characters that are supposedly Iberian and difficult to understand. At each angle of this pentagonal body, on the column capitals, there is a seated statue carved in Angouleme stone, epresenting five allegories: History, Justice, Autonomy, Peace and Work, all with their corresponding attributes. History, personified by the muse Kleio, as a symbol of knowledge and culture. Justice is shown as a woman with a sword between her hands. Autonomy or Self-government is symbolised by a winged angel taking the helm. Peace is represented by a woman with an olive branch, olding a little bird against her breast, a bird considered in times of old to be a symbol of peace and tranquillity, given the fact that during the time spent building its nest, all winds and storms disappeared completely. Finally, Work is represented by a blacksmith, carrying a hammer resting on a steel anvil. The second body, rising out of the first one, is also pentagonal in shape and is of white stonewith small columns of Aizcorbe red marble topped with bronze capitals. There are a number of coats of arms on the monument sides: those of Navarre and Pamplona, with the monogram of Christ underneath, the symbol of the Christian religion; the shields of the other historical administrative and legal districts of the Kingdom of Navarre: Tudela, Olite, Sangüesa and Estella. Under these large coats of arms of the administrative and legal districts, there are twenty smaller coats of arms of twenty towns and villages in Navarre. Rising from the second body is a red marble column with a white capital; around the shaft is a curved bronze plaque indicating the construction date: 1903. A monumental bronze statue crowns this work of art, allegorically representing Navarre as a victorious woman, classically dressed and wearing the royal crown, the symbol of the Kingdom of Navarre, looking ahead with a clear and decided expression. At her waist there is a sheathed sword and, in her right hand, she is carrying a fragment of the chains from the Kingdom"s coat of arms, as a symbol of the liberty conquered, whilst in her left hand she is flourishing a half rolled-up piece of parchment, with a wax seal hanging from it, and bearing the words «Ley Foral» (Charter Law). At her feet, there is a discarded shield and an Almohad turban, in reference to the victory of Navarre king Sancho the Strong in the battle of Navas de Tolosa. The symbolic contents of the sculpture of the monument to the Charter are completed with an endless number of elements such as ivy and acanthus leaves,plants such as the sunflower, holly oak and oak, animals such as frogs, owls, lions and storks, geometric shapes such as spheres, or mythical beasts such as the basilisk and the griffin. The formalarrangement of the monument to the Charter of Pamplona is part of the symbolism directed at defending and declaring the special charter situation of the Old Kingdom of Navarre, with number five as a constant reference to its five legal and administrative districts. This symbology is reflected in its pentagonal base, five sets of stares, in addition to the two pentagonal bodies with the five columns supporting its angles. It is also worthy of note that the sculpture on top of the monument is 5.5 metres high and weights 5,000 kilos. Furthermore, the five allegorical figures which mark the angles of the first body, are established as a symbol of the values that those people from Navarre participating in 1893 in the demonstration in favour of the charter, wanted to proclaim and defend at all cost.Erected in the Paseo de Sarastate in 1903, it came to symbolise the reaction of Navarre in defence of its rights in the face of the anti-Navarre project presented ten years earlier by thethen Minister of the Treasury, Germán Gamazo, considering that it undermined the fiscal autonomy of Navarre which had been recognised in the Ley Paccionada (Charter modification law) of 1841.Following the generalised public response to the meetings in defence of the Charter, the idea spread to create a symbol which would remind future generations of the unanimous opinion of the people of Navarre. Funding would be by popular subscription, for which there was a minimum amount of 25 centimes and a maximum amount of 25 pesetas. In that same year of 1893, the project presented by Manuel Martínez de Ubago was selected, an artist who was one of the leading exponents of the between-century Pamplona-style architecture. Although the initial idea was to locate the monument in the Town Hall square, the present-day plaza del Castillo square, it was finally decided to erect it at the western end of what was then called the paseo de Valencia parade, opposite the Palace ofthe Government of Navarre. As a historical curiosity, it should be highlighted that Rosa Oteiza Armona, born in the old quarters of Pamplona in the street of calle San Antón, as perpetuated in bronze as the statue of the woman; she was a discrete and independent woman who maintained a relationship with Jose Martínez de Ubago himself. It is surprising that the monument to the Charter of Navarre was never unveiled once the construction was complete, despite the fact that commemorative medals were even coined to mark the event. In March 1909, the deputy mayor, Mr Echave-Susaeta, proposed to transfer of the monument to the geometric centre of the plaza del Castillo square, in order to immediately perform the official unveiling as one of the events in the San Fermin festival program, to which all the councils in Navarre would be invited. However, the monument was not moved and neither was it unveiled.

José Javier Azanza