Nájera (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈna.xe.ɾa]) is a small town located in the "Rioja Alta" region of La Rioja, Spain on the river Najerilla. Nájera is a stopping point on the Way of St James.
The area attracted the Romans, who built the town of Tritium on land which now falls within the boundaries of Nájera and the neighbouring municipality of Tricio. Subsequently the area was under Muslim rule and the name Nájera (Naxara meaning "town between the rocks") is of Arabic origin.
The town was conquered by Ordoño II of Leon for Navarre in 923. Nájera was the capital city of the kingdom of Navarre before being conquered by Castile in 1054 after the battle of Atapuerca. However, it continued to be multi-cultural. For example, in 1142 there was a visit from a French abbot Peter the Venerable. He used his visit to Spain to commission translations of important Islamic works, including the first translation of the Qur'an into a European language, and it has been suggested he met with his four translators at Nájera. From the tenth century Nájera had a prosperous Jewish community, which was granted relatively favorable legal status after the Christian conquest.
Edward, the Black Prince fought in the Battle of Nájera in 1367, intervening in a Castilian Civil War on behalf of Pedro of Castile.
The church of Santa María la Real was founded by García Sánchez III of Pamplona in 1052. It is the burial-place of Spanish kings. The monks had to abandon the annexed monastic complex in the 19th century, as a result of the anti-clerical reforms of Juan Álvarez Mendizábal.
Other sights include:
- Convent of St. Helena (18th century)
- Bridge on the Najerilla river, built in the 12th century and remade in 1880
- Najerillense Museum.
- Excavations of the Alcázar, abandoned in the 16th century
- Monastery of Valvanera, 33 kilometres (21 miles) from the town, built in the 11th century, but restored in Gothic style in the 15th century as it became a residence of Isabella of Spain.