Puente la Reina lies at the meeting of two paths of the Camino – that from France and that from Aragon. not surprisingly, the king established the town in the early 12th century to serve and assist the flow of peregrinos.
in the early 11th century, peregrinos had to rely on ferry operators up and down the banks of the Arga to get them across to continue their Camino. not surprisingly, there were some unscrupulous characters operating these ferries doing their best to hoodwink, misdirect, or just plain rob unsuspecting peregrinos. (obviously an age-old problem: who’s going to complain about terrible service when they’re never going to be in that position ever again? and how would you communicate that information anyway? fortunately, we didn’t have much of that on our Camino.) to eliminate this problem, a Queen of Navarra (usually thought to be Doña Mayor, wife of Sancho III of Pamplona, or Doña Estefanía, wife of García III of Nájera) ordered the construction of a bridge over the Agra.
the bridge has six arches, the most easterly of which is now underground. When it was built it also had three defensive towers, one of which featured carvings of the Virgin of Puy (which means bird) and which, according to legend, a bird came to wipe away cobwebs and wash the statue’s face with water from the river.
the town flourished for several centuries; the Templars were present for a period; several churches were constructed; citizens participated to varying degrees in wars, rebellions and the Carlist wars. besides the bridge, there’s a Templar-built church with a unique Y-shaped crucifix said to have been carried by German peregrinos from their homeland.