Huesca: Wikis


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—  Municipality  —
The city of Huesca as seen from the cathedral


Coat of arms
Motto: Gate of the Pyrenees
Huesca is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 42°8′N 0°25′W / 42.133°N 0.417°W / 42.133; -0.417Coordinates: 42°8′N 0°25′W / 42.133°N 0.417°W / 42.133; -0.417
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Aragón
Province Huesca
Comarca Hoya de Huesca
Judicial district Huesca
 - Alcalde Fernando Elboj Broto (2007) (PSOE)
 - Total 161.0 km2 (62.2 sq mi)
Elevation 488 m (1,601 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Total 51,117
 - Density 317.5/km2 (822.3/sq mi)
 - Demonym Oscense
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 22001 - 22006
Dialing code 974
Official language(s)

Huesca (Aragonese: Uesca; pre-Roman Iberian: Bolskan; Latin: Osca; Greek: Ὄσκα, Ptol. ii. 6. § 68) is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the comarca of Hoya de Huesca. In 2008 it had a population of 51.117, almost a quarter of the total population of the province. That makes it one of the least populated provincial capitals in Spain. Huesca celebrates its main festivities (Fiestas de San Lorenzo) from 9th to 15th August.



Castle of Montearagón, founded in 1085.

Huesca's pre-Roman Iberian name was Bolskan. It was the capital of the Ilergetes, in the north of Hispania Tarraconensis, on the road from Tarraco (modern Tarragona) and Ilerda (modern Lleida) to Caesaraugusta (modern Zaragoza)[1] and fell under Caesaraugusta's jurisdiction. Pliny alone [2] places the Oscenses in Vescitania, a district mentioned nowhere else [3]. The city's name was rendered as Osca, and was a Roman colony, Urbs Victrix Osca, during the Roman Empire. Under the impetus of Quintus Sertorius, the renegade Roman and Iberian hero who made Osca his base, the city minted its own coinage and was the site of a prestigious school founded by Sertorius to educate young Iberians in Latin and Romanitas in general. We learn from Plutarch[4] that it was a large town, and the place where Sertorius died. It is probably the town called Ileoscan (Ἰλεόσκαν) by Strabo, in an apparently corrupt passage[5] It seems to have possessed silver mines,[6] unless the argentum Oscense here mentioned merely refers to the minted silver of the town. Enrique Florez, however,[7] has pointed out the impossibility of one place supplying such vast quantities of minted silver as we find recorded in ancient writers under the terms argentum Oscense, signatum Oscense; and is of the opinion that "Oscense" in these phrases means "Spanish", being a corruption of "Eus-cara".[8]

The Bell of Huesca, by José Casado del Alisal.

The fully Romanised city, with its forum in the Cathedral square, was made a municipium by decree of Augustus in 30 BCE. It was renamed Wasqah during the period of Arab domination, when the fortified city was a stronghold defending the frontier against the Christian counts and local kings of the Pyrenees. In 1094 Sancho Ramirez built the nearby Montearagon castle with the intention of laying siege to Wasqah; here he met his death by a stray arrow as he was reconnoitring the city's walls. It was conquered in 1096 by Peter I of Aragon.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) the "Huesca Front" was the scene of some of the worst fighting between the Republicans and Franco's army. The city was besieged by the Republicans, George Orwell among them (see below) but never fell.

Modern Huesca

El Coso street.

Huesca celebrates its most important annual festival in August: the festival (or fiesta) of San Lorenzo (Lawrence), a native of Huesca martyred in 268 AD. The anniversary of his martyrdom falls on August 10. The fiesta starts on the 9th and finishes on the 15th. Many of the inhabitants dress in green and white for the duration of the fiesta.

San Lorenzo, born in Huesca, was bishop of Rome and martyred by the Romans, burned on a grille (at least according to legend). Hence the grille is the symbol of San Lorenzo. It can be seen in a number of decorative works in the city.

Huesca is also the birthplace of film director Carlos Saura and his brother Antonio Saura, contemporary artist. There is an international film festival held annually.

The writer Oscar Sipan, winner of several literary prizes, was born in Huesca in 1974. The celebrated illustrator Isidro Ferrer, though born in Madrid, lives in the city.

Cathedral of Huesca.
San Lorenzo Church.
Ayuntamiento of Huesca.

Churches of Huesca

Huesca possesses many churches.

  • Huesca Cathedral (Catedral de la Transfiguración del Señor) in Gothic style begun by king Jaime I of Aragon around 1273 on the ruined foundations of the mosque. Work continued until the fifteenth century, creating one of the architectural landmarks of northern Spain. The doorway of 1300-1313 has carvings depicting the Apostles. The interior contains a triple nave and lateral chapels. It includes a magnificent high altar of alabaster carved to represent the Passion, made in 1520-1533 by Damián Forment. The cloister and the bell-tower are from the fifteenth century.
  • Church of St. Peter (Iglesia de San Pedro el Viejo), erected between 1100 and 1241, is one of the oldest Romanesque structures in the Peninsula. It was rebuilt in the seventeenth century, but retains its cloister of 1140.
  • Church of St. Lawrence (Iglesia de San Lorenzo), seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
  • Iglesia de Santo Domingo, in Baroque style.
  • Iglesia de la Compañía San Vicente, seventeenth century.
  • Ermita de Ntr. Sra. de Salas-M.H.A.-, Romanesque and Baroque
  • Ermita de Loreto -M.H.A.-, San Lorenzo's cradle according to tradition.
  • Ermita de San Jorge -s. XVI-, in memory of the Battle of Alcoraz
  • Ermita de las Mártires
  • Ermita de Santa Lucía
  • Ermita de Jara, in ruins
  • San Miguel, Romanesque tower
  • Santa María de Foris, románico de transición
  • Santa Cruz, Seminary, on Romanesque foundations.
  • There are several old monasteries in the immediate neighbourhood. The one in Castle of Montearagón contains in its crypt the tomb of king Alfonso I.
  • A double line of ancient walls can still be seen in present-day Huesca.
  • The institute for secondary education occupies the building formerly belonging to the old university. In one of its vaults is the famous "Bell of Huesca", said to have been constructed from the heads of insurgent nobles who were executed by King Ramiro II of Aragon.

Coffee in Huesca

The Casino (Oscense Circle).

Huesca is notable for the saying "Tomorrow we'll have coffee in Huesca", a running joke among militiamen of the Spanish Civil War. In February 1937, George Orwell was stationed near the falangist-held Huesca as a member of the POUM militia. In Homage to Catalonia, Orwell writes about this running joke, originally a naïvely optimistic comment made by one of the Spanish Republican generals:

Months earlier, when Siétamo was taken, the general commanding the Government troops had said gaily: 'Tomorrow we'll have coffee in Huesca.' It turned out that he was mistaken. There had been bloody attacks, but the town did not fall, and [the phrase] had become a standing joke throughout the army. If I ever go back to Spain I shall make a point of having a cup of coffee in Huesca.

Orwell never did: but the Indian writer Shashi Tharoor fulfilled his wish, on his behalf, in 1980, and has written about the experience ([1]).

Huesca is also famous for the legend of the Bell of Huesca.

Holy week, Huesca.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Antonine Itinerary pp. 391, 451.
  2. ^ iii. 3. s. 4.
  3. ^ Pliny, in the Third Book of Naturalis Historia. Translation at
  4. ^ Sert. c. 14.
  5. ^ iii. p. 161; v. Friedrich August Ukert, vol. ii. pt. 1. p. 451.
  6. ^ Livy xxxiv. 10, 46, xl. 43.
  7. ^ Med. ii. 520.
  8. ^ Cf. Julius Caesar Commentarii de Bello Civili i. 60; Velleius Paterculus ii. 30; "Euskara", Basque for the Basque language.



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Huesca is the capital city of the homonymous province, in Aragon, Spain. It means to be the gate of the Pyrenees and all the jewels of the North (historical towns, monasteries, sky resorts and stunning landscapes). The city itself is one of the least populated province capitals of Spain, hardly surpassing the 50,000 mark. Although part of its Old town was knocked down, it still paintains some nice buildings, standing out its romanesque architecture, typical of the province.

Get in

By bus

You can reach the city and other towns by bus, the bus company It has regular service from Barcelona to Huesca and Zaragoza to Huesca in case u reach Spain by Air. In case u get to Zaragoza AIrport u can reach with public transpor to Zaragoza Main Station and get a bus to Huesca or other places.

By plane

Nearest airport is Zaragoza airport. Ryanair flies here.

By train

Trains run from Barcelona and Madrid, including the Ave high speed train.

Get around

There are many places which you can only reach by mountain bike or 4x4, but that's the beauty of them.

By train

The train from Huesca to Canfranc is worth catching just to see the scenery, and the surreal, semi-abandoned Louis XV style station at the end of the line.

  • Cathedral of Huesca, built over the former mosque, is an interesting mish-mash of styles with late Gothic doorways and a Renaissance carved alabaster altarpiece by Damian Forment.
  • The Casino in the centre of town is Modernista (Art Nouveau) with interesting interiors which can be visited, and a bar.
  • The City Hall, with contains the famous "Cuadro de la Campana" painting, regarding the homonymous historic event.
  • Miguel Servet Park, the largest park of the city, with several interesting buildings and statues like the Origami birds statue and a replica of the Snow White and the seven dwarfs house.
  • The monastery of San Pedro el Viejo, famous by its romanesque cloister.
  • El Coso, the major street that surrounds the old town.
  • The Olimpia hall, Huesca's main theatre.
  • Huesca's bullring
  • Other churches: San Vicente, San Lorenzo, San Miguel...
  • Huesca museum
  • The San Jorge hill and hermitage (pilgrimage when the San Jorge's day, patron saint of Aragon)
  • Other hermitages placed in Huesca's surrounding villages: Salas, Loreto etc.
  • The city walls, now in process of restoration.


The best time to go is obviously in the summer, but January and February often have plenty of sun. August is fiesta season.

  • Huesca city has its Fiesta Mayor from 9 to 15 August, with concerts and public drunkenness, and you may wish to avoid this, or indeed make a point of going there. There are various international music festivals in the province in July and August.
  • Winter sports - in Canfranc, Benasque, Astún, Cerler, Candanchú and other ski stations.
  • Canyoning - the descent of mountain rivers through caves and canyons, in wetsuits. Dangerous in June due to flash floods.
  • Mountaineering


Local specialities include Pollo al chilindrón (chicken with red peppers) and Ternasco (local lamb).

  • The Hervi Restaurant - recommended for inexpensive home-style cooking. Only go if you're hungry (big servings) and understand spoken Spanish - the menu is not written down.


The Somontano wines are good, but not as good as they're priced.

  • Hotel Lacasa Faus Hutte, Carretera de Francia, km 658.5, +34974378136, [1]. checkin: 2 p.m; checkout: 12 p.m. Lacasa Faus-Hutte is located at 1000 meters high from the heart of the west side of Pirineos Mountain. Only 12 minutes distance from the Ski stations of Astún & Candanchú. Jaca city is only 12 km far from Lacasa Faus-Hutte. There is easy acess to the valleys of Ansó, Hecho, Ordesa ,El Roncal y Valle de Tena. 42- 96 Euros.  edit
  • Loarre One of the best Romanesque castles in Europe (recently the site for Ridley Scott's film, Kingdom of Heaven) just has a one-man bar hidden behind a few rocks, and a part-time guide. Close to Huesca city.
  • Although you might be attracted to the high Pyrenees, you should definitely visit the pre-Pyrenees - a parallel range just to the North of Huesca city.
  • The Sierra de Guara for mountaineering and birdwatching (vultures and birds of prey).
  • Ordesa National Park is particularly spectacular in autumn. In summer some of the waterfalls dry up. No cars.
  • Barbastro Small town with an interesting old part, centre of the Somontano wine district. You can visit vineyards from here.
  • Ainsa, Ansó and Alquézar are beautiful, well preserved Romanesque villages in mountainous regions. There are other, less well-known places which are also charming.
  • San Juan de la Peña has to be seen - part Romanesque, part Gothic shrine set into an enormous rock in lovely mountain scenery. Easily accessible from Huesca.
  • Jaca has an important Romanesque cathedral and fortifications reputed to be designed by Leonardo de Vinci (they're not).
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Huesca discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


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