The Dovecotes of Etxalar

Every autumn when the wind blows from the north or the east the sky of Etxalar witnesses the passage of thousands of doves. More than 600 years ago a shepherd started the custom of throwing stones at them. On seeing them come down a bishop encouraged him to lay nets to catch them. This was the origin of this unusual form of hunting, unique in the Iberian Peninsula, which has continued to be practised ever since. Throughout its history it has had distinguished spectators such as Emperor Napoleon III and Kings Alfonso XII and XIII. Nowadays it has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.

(Photo: Patxi Uriz)

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Coordinates: 43.254366,-1.614256