Puente la Reina- Camino: This town is an important spot because it divides the distance
between Pamplona and Estella, making this section of the journey more manageable.
Around 1000AD, growing numbers of pilgrims prompted the building of the town’s magnificent bridge. Puente la Reina means ‘Bridge of the Queen’ in honour of a royal sponsor. Puente la Reina is also the site of the Church of the Crucifix – Iglesia del Crucifijo – and a pilgrim hospital, founded by the Order of the Knights Templar, who were entrusted with the protection of pilgrims from 1142 until the suppression of the Order in the fourteenth century.
The story of the Templars began in Crusader-occupied Jerusalem in 1119. Prior to that, Pope Urban II formally instituted the first crusade from France in 1095.The stated intention was – to fight for Christ and cleanse the Holy Land of unbelievers, blasphemers and pagans.
Many were attracted to join this holy war. Professional military men, nobles, knights, peasants, criminals and undisciplined groups formed a mixed mass calling itself the “Crusaders”. Some groups even crossed the Mediterranean Sea to join in the holy war.The Crusaders travelled through Europe towards the Holy Land, plundering cities and killing hapless pagans, Muslims and even other Christian communities who unfortunately happened to be in their way.
Eventually, after much needless cruelty and slaughter, the Crusaders managed to capture Jerusalem and vengefully set about ridding it of its Muslim inhabitants. The name Outremer, meaning “across or beyond the sea’’, was given to the countries that made up the Holy Land, including modern Syria, Lebanon,Palestine and Israel.The crusading armies were able to keep a tenuous hold on Outremer by constructing massive fortified castles that housed sufficient armed men to fight off the marauding locals.
About 1119,a small group of knights was given exclusive permission to excavate beneath the foundations of the remains of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.The consensus amongst historians and researchers is that these knights were searching for some sort of treasure and that they found it.
This was the origin of the Templars’initial title:The Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon.
We stayed in a small hotel in Puenta eager to get out of the heat which had been with us for the past few days. Tomorrow on to Estella.