Monastère de Ronceveau 2.jpg
Coat of arms of Roncesvalles
Coat of arms
Roncesvalles is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 43°0′N 1°19′W / 43°0′N 1°19′W / 43.000; -1.317
Autonomous communityNavarre
Judicial districtAóiz
 • MayorLuis Echeverría Echávarren
 • Total15.1 km2 (5.8 sq mi)
923 m (3,028 ft)
Highest elevation
1,564 m (5,131 ft)
Lowest elevation
910 m (2,990 ft)
 • Total30
 • Density2.0/km2 (5.1/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Official website

Roncesvalles (Spanish pronunciation: [ronθezˈβaʎes]; Basque: Orreaga [oreaɣa], Aragonese: Ronzesbals [ronθesˈbals], French: Roncevaux [ʁɔ̃s(ə)vo]) is a small village and municipality in Navarre, northern Spain. It is situated on the small river Urrobi at an altitude of some 900 metres (3,000 ft) in the Pyrenees, about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the French frontier as the crow flies, or 21 kilometres (13 mi) by road.

Roncesvalles is famous in history and legend for the defeat of Charlemagne and the death of Roland in 778, during the battle of Roncevaux Pass, when Charlemagne's rear guard was destroyed by Basque tribes.

When a party of horsemen from the Kingdom of Navarre arrived at the Duchy of Burgundy in 1439 to negotiate Prince Charles of Navarre's marriage to Agnes of Cleves, the Duke of Burgundy's niece, the prior of Roncesvalles was their chief ambassador. He was described as a "noble knight". [1]

The small collegiate church contains several curious relics associated with Roland. The battle is said to have been fought in the valley known as Valcarlos, which is now occupied by a hamlet bearing the same name, and in the adjoining pass of Ibañeta (Roncevaux Pass). Both of these are traversed by the main road leading north from Roncesvalles to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the French Basque Country.

Since the Middle Ages, this collegiate church has been a favorite resting place for Catholic pilgrims along the French Way path, the most popular variant of the Way of St. James, since it is the first place to have a rest after crossing the French Pyrenees. Every year thousands of pilgrims begin their way to Santiago de Compostela at Roncesvalles.

The area was also the site of the 1813 Battle of Roncesvalles during the Peninsular War.


  1. ^ de Monstrelet, Enguerrand (1840). The chornicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet, continued by others. Tr. by T. Johnes. 12 vols. [and] Plates.
Other Languages
aragonés: Roncesvals
asturianu: Orreaga
brezhoneg: Orreaga
català: Roncesvalls
Cymraeg: Ronsyfal
Deutsch: Roncesvalles
español: Roncesvalles
euskara: Orreaga
français: Roncevaux
galego: Roncesvales
italiano: Roncisvalle
magyar: Roncesvalles
Bahasa Melayu: Roncesvalles
occitan: Roncesvals
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Roncesvalles
polski: Roncesvalles
português: Roncesvales
русский: Ронсесвальес
suomi: Orreaga
українська: Орреага
Tiếng Việt: Roncesvalles
Winaray: Roncesvalles
中文: 奥雷亚加