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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Huesca

Cathedral Doorway, HuescaCathedral Doorway, Huesca View slideshow

Huesca, chief town of its province, lies on the slopes of a hill above the Río Isuela. A typical Pyrenean town, it is an important market center for the agricultural produce of the surrounding area.

History

The Iberian settlement of Osca became the Roman Urbs Victrix Osca, headquarters in the first century B.C. of the rebel Quintus Sertorius, a supporter of Marius, who was able to maintain his independence of Rome for almost ten years. After the expulsion of the Moors by Pedro I Huesca was capital of Aragon from 1096 to 1118. In the Napoleonic period the town was occupied by French troops, and during the Spanish Civil War there were two years of bitter fighting for control of the town.

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Cathedral

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On the highest point in Huesca, occupying the site of an earlier mosque, stands the Gothic cathedral (13th-16th centuries), which has a beautiful main doorway (14th century) with rich figural decoration and a rose window in the apex of the arch. The most notable feature in the interior is the magnificent alabaster high altar, the masterpiece of Damián Forment, on which he worked for thirteen years (1520-33). The beautiful reliefs in the middle register depict three scenes from Christ's Passion, and the sculptor has immortalized himself and his daughter in medallions at the end of the lowest row. Also notable are the Renaissance choir-stalls (c. 1590), the cathedral treasury in the sacristy and the chapel of Santa Ana, with a retablo attributed to Alonso de Berruguete.

Episcopal Museum

The Museo Episcopal of Huesca, in the chapterhouse, displays Romanesque and Gothic wall paintings, reliquaries, book illuminations and an alabaster group by Damián Forment, ''Adoration of the Kings''.

Parish Church

In the parish church of Huesca is the famous alabaster Retablo de Monte Aragón, a masterpiece by Gil Morlanes (1495) which was originally in the fortified monastery of Monte Aragón.

Town Hall

Opposite the Huesca Cathedral is the 16th century Casa Consistorial, with a Renaissance facade. On the first floor is a gruesome representation of the "Bell of Huesca".

Provincial Museum

To the north of the Huesca Cathedral and the Town Hall, housed in the Baroque premises of the former Literary University, is the Provincial Museum, with eight rooms of prehistoric and Roman antiquities, Gothic frescoes (including 13th century Passion scenes from San Fructuoso de Bierge) and pictures of the 15th-19th centuries. Among the pictures are four Virgins by an unknown Italian master (15th-16th century), works by Francisco Camilo, Guido Reni and Claudio Coello, and four drawings by Goya. The University was built over the old 12th century Aragonese royal palace. One of the surviving rooms was the scene of a grisly event in 1136 which became known as the ''Bell of Huesca'', when King Ramiro II summoned his rebellious nobles to meet here and had sixteen of them beheaded: fifteen of the heads were then laid on the ground in the shape of a bell, with the sixteenth suspended above them as the clapper.
Address: Plaza de la Universidad, E-22071 Huesca, Spain

San Pedro el Viejo

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In the Mercado Nuevo, to the south of the cathedral, is the church of San Pedro el Viejo, one of the oldest Romanesque churches in the region, built in the 12th century on the remains of a Benedictine abbey, with a hexagonal tower. In the tympanum of the main doorway is a representation of the Three Kings. In the Capilla de San Bartolomé are the tombs of Ramiro II and Alfonso I of Aragon. The Romanesque cloister has finely carved capitals.
Address: Mercado Nuevo, E-22001 Huesca, Spain

San Lorenzo

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The church of San Lorenzo (17th century) in Huesca, to the south of San Pedro, has a fine carved and gilded altar.

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