Great Oak trees of Lizarraga near Pamplona

Near the tiny little town of Lizarraga near Pamplona, Spain there is a stand of great old Oak trees the largest of which is called "the Great Oak of Lizarraga". This stand of trees belong to the "white oak" section of the genus are are called "Downy Oaks" or "Pubescent Oaks" (Quercus pubescens).
There are only about 30-40 of the very large old oaks left in this stand and the largest of them is the one in the picture above. The sign below is located right in front of the tree. One curios piece of trivia about these trees is that according to the sign the land used to belong to Saint Fransis Xavier. Another interesting detail is that these oaks stand around the site of the ruins of a midieval town by the name of "Santa Constanza".

The trunk of the great Oak at Lizarraga has a circumferance of 7.54 metes and stands 17 meters tall. It is still quite healthy and does not have a hollow trunk like many other old oaks.
The picture below shows part of the stand of old oaks as seen from the ruins of Santa Constanza.
The image below is of the little town of Lizarraga (a Basque name that means "place where the Ash trees grow" which is somewhat odd since I only saw one Ash tree but the whole hillside is covered with oaks). The trail from this little town to the stand of old oaks is pretty will marked and takes about 20-25 minutes to walk. The whole trial is a loop which takes over an hour. Lizarraga is about a 20 minute drive south of Pamplona which itself is located in northern Spain.

The Great Oaks of Jauntsarats, Navarra

In the small town of Jauntsarats, Navarra there are several of the largest Oak trees of the Iberian peninsula. Navarra is an autonomous region in the north of Spain. Juantsarats is a very small town with a walking path (1.8 km) that leads visitors to various mightly, old Oak trees. The image above is of the largest Oak along the path. A sign by the tree gives it the name "Roble Kisulabe-ko Haritza". "Roble" is the Spanish word for "Oak". "Haritza" is the Basque word for Oak but I don´t know the meaning of "Kisulabe-ko" although I am pretty sure it is a Basque word as well.
This Great Oak of Jauntsarats has a trunk diameter of 3.53 meters and circumferance of 10.1 meters (at 1.5 meters off the ground). It´s crown is 12.2 metets accross and the tree is 11.6 meters tall. This aged giant is slowely dying of old age, it is likely more than 500 years old. Below is a picture of the sign showing the pathway to see the great trees.

The second largest of the great oaks is not as stout but stands considerably taller. At 1.5 meters off the ground its diameter is 2.75 meters and its circumferance is 8.7 meters. This Oak stands 29.1 meters tall. The image below does not show it but this tree has a large hollow on the other side.

Both of these large Oaks are of the Oak tree species Quercus robur which is commonly known as Pedunculate Oak.

Swearing in cerimony under the Oak of Guernica

The video below is of the swearing in ceremony for the "lehendakari" (term referring to the president of Basque Country which literally means "the first one"). The second half of the video (starting at about 2:30 minutes into the video) shows a swearing in ceremony under the Oak tree of Guernica (also spelled Gernika).

The image below is of the coat of arms for the Gernika-Lumo municipality with the Oak tree front and center. There is a strong link between the governance of the Basque Country and the symbolic tree.

For many centuries local councils would meet under special trees to make regional decisions. Over time these local councils gave way to just one council that meet under the tree in Guernica. By 1512 this one tree and its council came to represent the Basque people as a whole. Obviously these oak trees do not last forever but according to tradition new trees are planted from the acorns of the tree that preceded it.

One can only imagine the horror that the Basque people must have felt when in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War the town of Guernica was bombed by the German Condor Legion in support of General Franco. The tree survived the attack but died later of a fungus. The current tree has only been growing since 1986 and was re-located to the site of the original tree in 2005.

Below is the coat of arms for the Basque province of Biscay also with the tree front and center with the shape of a cross in the background and with an oak wreath around the edge.

Oak trees and oak leaves are found on many other symbols representing the Basque people and their ancient culture.