When it comes to parks in Spanish cities, Pamplona has all the bragging rights; it is the greenest city in Spain. The large park surrounding the Citadel is impossible to miss and most people end up stumbling upon it whether they choose to or not. The other large and popular park is La Taconera, known for its elegant layout and frequented by locals and visitors alike. But Pamplona has more parks to offer than just the main two. Tucked away behind the bull ring, at the end-point of the city walls is Parque de la Media Luna, an all-too-often undiscovered park with a charm of its own; the park I like to call Pamplona’s secret garden.
© Photo: Xanti103 (The pond in the middle of Parque de la Media Luna)
Media Luna has always been one of my favourite hidden spots of Pamplona and one of the most unique parks I’ve been to. Designed in 1935 by local architect Víctor Eusa (1894 – 1990), it feels like the enormous private balcony of a palace that rests on the edge of a cliff; that’s because Media Luna is located high up, atop of Pamplona’s plateau, overlooking the nearby rural areas, the River Arga and the mountains that lead the way to France. The park’s name derives from the fact that it was built on a curving rim that resembles a half-moon. Here you’ll find a surreal, romantic hideaway with paths, fountains, gardens and beautiful views.
© Photo: Jose Luis Alcalde (View of Pamplona Cathedral from the edge of the park)
Media Luna is a narrow park. The natural thing to do is arrive from behind the bullring, as it’s the side closest to the city centre, and walk along the park’s main path, taking in the views until you reach the end. There, you’ll come across another statue but in quite a strange place; at an isolated spot beside the road that heads out of the city stands Sancho the Great (994 – 1035) who was King of Pamplona, and arguably one of the most influential Kings in the history of the Iberian Peninsula, from 1004 until his death. Both the unlikely location and the odd style of this statue grabbed my attention. Normally, statues of kings are hoisted up on top of columns looking down on us from above. Sancho the Great however, stands at ground level among the people who pass him by.
© Photo: Jialxv (Statue of Sancho the Great at the very end of the park)
In the middle of the park is Bar Medialuna, a café and terrace beside the waters of the pond. From Bar Medialuna, is it impossible to miss the large monument just beside the terrace; a statue of one of Pamplona’s most famous home-grown musicians, the classical composer and violinist Pablo Sarasate (1844 – 1908). As a classical musician of the romantic period, Media Luna is just right for a Sarasate statue; the serenity of his music and the quaintness of the park make them an ideal match for one another.
“A genius! For 37 years I've practised fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!” – Pablo Sarasate
© Photo: RLasaosa (Statue of Pablo Sarasate in the middle of Media Luna)
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