Pamplona, Iruña in Basque, is famous first and foremost for its annual Fiestas de Sanfermines, also known as the "Running of the Bulls." The week-long festival was first brought to the attention of the world by American writer Ernest Hemingway in his book, The Sun Also Rises, published in 1926, and has gained huge notoriety since. It's a spectacle of sorts for the stout of heart, where a herd of bulls chases down red-scarfed runners through a handful of streets in the old city. It is an 826-meter (903 yards) run that begins and ends in the bullring and is followed by a traditional bullfight. The festival is held during the second week of July every year, and broadcast live on national television.
Pamplona is situated in a rounded valley in the approximate center of the northern Spanish province of Navarre, spilling over onto both sides of the Arga, a tributary of the river Ebro. It is a fortress city with medieval walls and a historic center, Casco Antiguo, crisscrossed by narrow, timeworn brick streets. It has its fair share of historic churches and a 14th-century Gothic cathedral. There are also old squares and plazas, and a respectable castle to interest the visitor. Pamplona is also a major stop on the celebrated Camino de Santiago, the historic north-south path followed by the centuries-old Christian pilgrimage that journeys from France into Spain through a pass in the Pyrenees, and on to Santiago de Compostela.
Pamplona is located 92 kilometers south of San Sebastián, or 117 kilometers southeast of Bilbao, and is well linked by motorways to the neighboring cities of Zaragoza, Logroño, and others. The city has a population of approximately 200,000.
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