Roncesvalles - Encyclopedia


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RONCESVALLES (Fr. Roncevaux), a village of northern Spain, in the province of Navarre; situated on the small river Urrobi, at an altitude of 3220 ft. among the Pyrenees, and within 5 m. from the French frontier. Pop. (1900) 152. Roncesvalles is famous in history and legend for the defeat of Charlemagne and the death of Roland in 778. The small collegiate church contains several curious relics associated with Roland, and is a favourite place of pilgrimage. The battle is said to have been fought in the picturesque valley known as Val Carlos, which is now occupied by a hamlet bearing the same name, and in the adjoining defile of Ibaneta. Both of these are traversed by the main road leading north from Roncesvalles to St Jean Pied de Port, in France.

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