Thanks to its diversity and cultureSpain is one of the most attractive destinations in the world. A country boasting good living, its people enjoy outdoor life with family and friends.
Spain is diverse, with each region being proud of its own traditions and cuisine. A land of wines and joy, of flamenco, dance and tradition. Spain always surprises those who visit it.
On top of its amazing and varied culture, and along with the warmth of its people, you will discover a country of contrasts, of alluring cities and incredible natural scenery. Travel to the centre of this bountiful peninsula to discover Castilian Spain. Discover Northern Spain's magical locations that include amazing grasslands and green forests, nourished by the Atlantic sea.
Or its fresh and green Mediterranean coast and islands, where the sea breeze will enchant you. Without forgetting to mention the richness of Andalusia, famous inspiration for artists and writers such as Hemingway.
This is Spain, a magical country that enchants all who visit.
Description of the area
With more than two thousand years of history, the city of Huesca is situated in the fertile region of Hoya. El Coso - the outer medieval city walls - mark an interesting urban complex which is dominated by the Cathedral.
And if you want to enjoy the culture, Huesca has a rich cultural and natural heritage that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Just a few kilometres from the capital, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Cañones de Guara Natural Park, where you will have the chance to enjoy numerous outdoor sports such as canyoning.
Visit Huesca and walk around its parks where you can admire Coscolla or Ramón Acín's sculptures. Ramón Acín's "Pajaritas" are this city's emblem.
Two of Huesca's main claims to culinary excellence are meats and sausages.
Roast lamb with the Ternasco de Aragón Designation of Origin is one of the region's most traditional dishes.
Cod, an essential ingredient for making "ajoarriero de Huesca", which is prepared with cod, oil and garlic, is also one of the region's most emblematic dishes.
Another alternative is "al salmorejo" eggs, a type of poached egg with meat and sausage.
As for typical desserts, we should mention marzipan chestnuts and "colinetas" (sweet made from marzipan and crystallised fruits).
Furthermore, excellent wines with Somontano Designation of Origin are produced in the province of Huesca.
The years of history that have passed through this Region, which was once a Kingdom, have made visitors feel like they are walking back in time.
From the primitive Dolmen of Tella, going on a journey through the various fortresses and castles (Boltaña, Alquezar, Abizanda, L'Ainsa...), and churches and chapels (San Juan de Toledo, Tella, San Vicente de Labuerda...), all show vestiges of its past.
With so many years of history, and with such a mix of cultures, it is no surprise that you can find a Buddhist centre (Panillo) close to a Christian Sanctuary (Santuario de Torreciudad).
Visits to wine cellars
Fertile soils, the result of a volcanic past, plains of land that lead to the Pyrenees, cold climate in winter and moderate the rest of the year, altogether make it an area of vast vineyards with their respective wine cellars, which may be visited with prior reservations (Olvena, Viñas del Vero, Enate, Otto Bestu...).
*Closed on Sundays.
Extensive territory ranging from the flat earth of the Pre-Pyrenea areas, to the younger peaks of the Pyrenees, we offer numerous excursions of all levels and for all visitors:
· Pineta Valley (Marboré, Larri Lakes...)
· Ordesa Valley (Cola de Caballo, Gradas de Soaso…)
· Añisclo Valley (Ermita de San Urbez, Nerín, Moro Cave…)
· Bal de Chistau (Basa de la Mora, Port of Sahún...)
· Posets Maladeta Park
· Sobrarbe Fortresses: Roda Wall (16th century), in La Fueva valley. It is the second most important in the province of Huesca, behind the Loarre Castle)
· San Victorían Monastery: It was one of the most important monasteries and with most power in the Iberian peninsula, as well as one of the most important sites of the Aragon Community
The county and kingdom of Sobrarbe
Sobrarbe is one of the three counties that formed Aragón. It was one of the counties of the Marca Hispánica (Spanish March), whose dark history was intertwined with legends in the time of Íñigo Arista of Pamplona, first King of Navarre and apparently Count of Sobrarbe.
In the 5th century the county of Sobrarbe was absorbed by the county of Ribagorza . Sancho the Great of Navarre took advantage of territory's difficulties, using his rights as a descendant of Dadildis de Le Pailhars to carry out the annexation in 1016-1019. Later the territories would be divided among his children, with his third son, Gonzalo Sánchez, becoming king of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza. Following the death of Gonzalo in 1038, the territory passed to his brother, Ramiro I of Aragón, thereby forming the primitive territory of the kingdom of Aragón.
· Capitals: Boltaña and Aínsa
· Surface area: 2,202.70 km2
· Population: 7,764 inhabitants (2009)
At the time of the arrival of the Romans to the territory, the town was the capital of the so-called Boletania, which appears to be the etymological predecessor of its current name. However, the nucleus of population was concentrated in the pass between the current Boltaña castle and the river Ara, receiving from the Romans the name of Municipium Boletanum.
The castle is of Arab origin, situated at the top of the so-called monte de San Martín, and its existence has been verified during the reign of Sancho Ramírez of Aragon, who entrusted custody to Jimeno Garcés to deal with the Moorish invasions of Sobrarbe.
Before the Christian invasions, Boltaña was simply a fortress from which the Moors could prevent the Christian advances from the basin of the river Ara, and it is recorded that Abderramán III appointed Amrus Ibn Muhammad as its governor. The exact date on which the Christian reconquest took place is unknown, but it is known that in the year 941 the King of Pamplona, García Sánchez I of Navarre, counted the town de Boltaña amongst his possessions.
In the 11th century, during the reign of Sancho Garcés III of Navarre, the plaza de Boltaña was in charge of his nephew Jimeno Garcés (from 1028 to 1031); and Sancho Galíndez between 1036 and 1080, under the rule of Ramiro I of Aragón. This gives us an idea of the strategic importance that Boltaña possessed at the time.
During the 12th century, unlike what had occurred during the previous century, Boltaña lost its importance in favour of Aínsa, which had been conquered by the kingdom of Aragon, especially after granting the town a charter in 1124 from the king Alfonso I of Aragon, El Batallador ('the battler'). During the following centuries, the process of constant decline of Boltaña in favour of Aínsa was pronounced, up to such a point that Boltaña was considered a mere dependence or village of Aínsa.
In 1430 the señorío (lordship) of Boltaña was granted to Juan of Bardají, but after the opposition to its birthright king Alfonso V of Aragón overturned the concession and rights reverted back to the Crown of Aragón.
Boltaña's cultural heritage includes:
· Boltaña castle, of Muslim origin, popularly known as the castle of the counts of Sobrarbe, and it has the peculiarity of having a hexagonal tower. It is catalogued as a cultural heritage site in Aragon
· Parish church, the former Collegiate church of San Pedro, built in Romanesque style of the 12th century, remodelled in the 16th century.
· Plaza Mayor (town square), built with large arcades
· Bridge to the outside , on the river Ara, built in Romanesque style. The bridge can be viewed from the entrance of the Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña hotel
· San Victorián Royal Monastery, BIC being restored
· The Carmen Monastery, reformed into the Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña hotel
· Municipal library, the oldest in the Aragonese Pyrenees, and holder of the highest reading rates in Aragon
It is situated in the high Pyrenees of Huesca, in the region of Sobrarbe. It is, together with Boltaña, the historical head of the high Huesca Pyrenees, the ancient county and subsequent Kingdom of Sobrarbe.
Its original town, located on a promontory village overlooking the junction of the Cinca and Ara rivers, consists of two nearly parallel streets, Mayor Street and La de Arriba street, and the Plaza Mayor (town square). Here we encounter the castle and square, scene of the miracle of the appearance of the cross of fire on an oak. This event gave the victory to the Christian troops under King García Ximénez.
With clear medieval distribution, the old quarter of Aínsa has been declared a Historical-Artistic Heritage Site since 1965. Today it is an important tourist centre in Spain.
Although the legend situated the birth of Aínsa at the conquest of the plaza by King García Ximénez's troops in 724 due to the miracle of the fire cross (since the 16th century there has been a cross mark where the alleged deeds occurred) historical sources state that the Moors never managed to establish in this land.
Ainsa castle, which dates back to the 6th century, formed part of the Christian territories defence line (which ran to Abizanda), and became the embryo of the town. It was walled in the middle ages, and became the capital of the County of Sobrarbe which belonged to the Kingdom of Nájera-Pamplona (which was to become the Kingdom of Navarre) and later would be included in the Kingdom of Aragón.
In 1124 king Alfonso I, 'the Battler' granted the Town Charter to the town of Jaca. The importance of the square led to the Church of Santa María also being conceived as a defence, as can be seen in the tower's turrets.
The loss of importance of the region of Sobrarbe led to a relaxation of the activity of Aínsa, which maintained a state of subsistence until the beginning of the 20th century when traditional activities were disturbed with the construction plans of building different dams, water reservoirs and other hydraulic systems for the production of electricity and water supply for the Ebro plains.
This activity led to the expropriation and loss of the best farmlands in the valleys and the emigration of its people. Many neighbouring towns saw all of their inhabitants disappearing and others dramatically diminishing. This led to the town depending on the town hall of Aínsa.
The limitation on all resources caused by the lowering population and complex geography led to a major crisis in the mid 20th century. This crisis was overcome by the boom in rural and nature tourism.
The creation of various natural parks and nature reserves, firstly at Ordesa y Monte Perdido followed by others such as the one at Sierra de Guara and the growing interest in mountain and adventure sports had a significant impact on the region's economic activity...
Aínsa's original urban centre alone is a monument worthy of visiting, as acknowledged by having been declared a Historical-Artistic Heritage Site. Some highlights include:
· Aínsa Castle, dating back to the 6th and 17th centuries. Having been reworked over several centuries, the building preserves very few elements from its original Romanesque beginnings.
· Parish Church of Santa María, Romanesque, started at the beginning of the 11th century and was completed in the 12th century. It was consecrated in 1181. Its simple portal has 4 archivolts on small ornate columns.
· Plaza Mayor , presided over by the town hall and open to the castle, the town square is arcaded on both sides. The community grape presses are situated on the upper level of these arcades.
History of Monasterio de Boltaña (17th century)
Monasterio de Boltaña was built in the mid 17th century on the site of an old chapel by the Order of the Descalzos Carmelite Monks. The monks settled in Boltaña for being a tranquil, beautiful, and fertile place next to a river and a valley, protected from the north winds by the Pyrenees ridge, which gave the area a peaceful, sunny Mediterranean micro-climate. Moreover, it is said that the first settlers of the town of Boltaña, also chose it for these same characteristics and gave it the name Boltaña Galeico, which means "beautiful place" or "peaceful place."
The old nucleus on which the convent was built was the chapel of the Holy Spirit. The Baroque style church was built right above it. Typical of the Carmelite Monks, it is one of the purest examples preserved by this order. It has a Latin cross shaped base, linking chapels, transept and dome. Structure of very well-portioned curved arches, with a surface area of approximately 600 m2.
The old cloister is situated in the heart of the building, in the centre of which there is a patio surrounded by two floors in the beamed gallery.
After the Mendizabal Dis-entailment Laws (1835 – 1836), the monks that inhabited the monastery had to leave the building and the monument passed to the successive landowners who continued with the farming and cattle.
Around 1920, the monastery was bought by Dr. Isaac Noguera, a renowned surgeon from Barcelona and native of Sobrarbe, who transformed it into a tuberculosis sanatorium. The climate was very suitable for people with breathing problems. Subsequently, the sanatorium remained a hospital until it was converted to another use. In this case it became a shelter. So it remained for a few years until the owner sold it to the group business that currently own it, who after the arduous task of restoration, has transformed it into a hotel, opening its doors to the public on July 5th, 2005.
The Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña invites you to discover part of the history of our establishment and witness its present and future first hand.