Tourist Guide to Huesca Discover the Hidden Gems



Monasterio de San Pedro el Viejo in Huesca

Not far from the Huesca Cathedral is another monument of great historical and artistic significance: the Monasterio de San Pedro el Viejo, or the Monastery of Old St. Peter. It is one of the oldest and best-preserved Romanesque complexes in Spain, which was declared a National Monument in 1885. The monastery was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier temple, which was used by Christians during the Muslim period. The monastery houses the remains of two kings of Aragon: Alfonso I the Battler and Ramiro II the Monk, who played an important role in the history of the region.

The tour of the monastery begins with the church, which has three naves with semicircular apses. The interior is modest and austere, in keeping with the spirit of the Benedictine order that settled here. Noteworthy is the cimborrio, or tower over the intersection of the naves, which has an octagonal shape and is decorated with arcades and a frieze with plant motifs. The cimborrio is an example of the influence of Muslim art on Romanesque architecture. The church also has two side altars from the 17th century, dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Benedict.

Next, you move on to the cloister, which is a real pearl of the monastery. It has four galleries with arcades supported on double columns with capitals. The capitals are richly carved and depict biblical, mythological, historical, and fantastic scenes. You can see, among others, the creation of the world, original sin, Abraham’s sacrifice, David’s fight with Goliath, the escape from Troy, sirens, centaurs, dragons, and other creatures. The capitals are the work of anonymous masters, who showed great invention and skill. The cloister is a place of silence and contemplation, where you can admire the beauty of Romanesque art.

Next to the cloister is the chapel of St. Bartholomew, which serves as a royal pantheon. In it are two sarcophagi from the 13th century, in which rest kings Alfonso I and Ramir II. The sarcophagi are made of stone and have a simple form, without any decoration. On them lie statues of kings, dressed in ceremonial robes and holding scepters and royal apples. The statues are realistic and express dignity and calm. In the chapel, there is also a painting of the Madonna and Child from the 15th century, which is venerated by the faithful.

Monasterio de San Pedro el Viejo is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday. Opening hours vary depending on the time of year and holidays. Admission costs 3 euros for adults and 1.5 euros for children, students, and seniors. There is the possibility of visiting with a guide or an audio guide. Monasterio de San Pedro el Viejo is not only a monument of great historical and artistic value, but also a testament to the faith and culture of the people who lived and prayed here for centuries. It is a place that delights and moves, and is worth visiting during your stay in Huesca.

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