The origins of Oloron lie in the mists of time before Christ, in Ibero-Roman times when it was known as Iluro. The old town was destroyed by Normans around 845.
But its important position, high up on a bluff overlooking the junction of the Gaves of Ossau and Aspe (thus creating the Gave d'Oloron) made sure that it was soon rebuilt: first Oloron, high on the hill, an important fortified town built by the Viscomtes of the Béarn. On the plains around the hill the church authorities built St Marie round a cathedral. Rivalry between the two town persisted until 1858 when they were united by decree.
Today it is an important commercial town which offers sudden surprising views of the deep clefts carved by the rivers. It is the centre of the Basque beret industry and also has the factory which creates the delicious Pryénéen chocolates.
|Sainte Croix Church 11th and 12th centuries ||Churches|
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