Huesca Tourist Attractions
Huesca, chief town of its province and the see of a bishop, 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.HistoryThe 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.
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.
Opening hours: 8:45am-1pm, 4pm-6:30pm
Useful tips: Closed during services.
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.
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".
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
Opening hours: 10am-2pm, 5pm-8pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: Epiphany (3 Kings' Day ) - Christian (Jan 6), New Year's Day (Jan 1), Aragón Day - Spain (Apr 23), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), National Day - Spain (Oct 12), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Monday after the Immaculate Conception - Spain (Dec 9), Constitution Day - Spain (Dec 6), Good Friday - Christian, Maundy (Holy) Thursday - Christian, Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: Adult Free
San Pedro el Viejo
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.
Map of Huesca Attractions