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History

Huesca, in its long history, has its own particular treasures which are reflected in its streets, its archaeological sites, its monuments and its heritage in general. Originally known as the Iberian town of Bolskan, it was centred on what is now “El Casco Antiguo” (the old quarter) and it was famed for its mint whose coins depicted the horseman whose figure remains at present on the shield of the city.


It was the residence of Quintus Sertorius (c.123-72 BC) at the time of Roman Osca, who established a senate of three hundred members and an academy which later became the University Sertoriana, the first Spanish university which remained open until 1845. The later Visigoths left little trace in Huesca and were in turn dominated by the Muslims who renamed the town “Wasqa”. They built the famous city walls in defence against the threat of warriors from the north. Their remains are still preserved in part around the old quarter.

Famously known as the “Salto de Roldan” is the legend of a French knight who, in order to escape his persecutors spurred his horse on to jump (salto) over an enormous gorge which is visible from the parts of the city.

Famously known as the “Salto de Roldan” is the legend of a French knight who, in order to escape his persecutors spurred his horse on to jump (salto) over an enormous gorge which is visible from the parts of the city.

The church of San Pedro el Viejo with its Romanesque cloisters together with the Gothic Cathedral and the old university of Huesca (1354, abolished in 1845) all date back to medieval times.

The Room of the Bell of Huesca. The Altarpiece of the Cathedral. The Cloisters of San Pedro.



In the seventeenth century several works of the Aragonese Jesuit Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658), one of the most important writers of Spain’s Golden Age, were published in the city thanks to the patronage at the time of Juan de Lastanosa Vincencio.

Huesca also hosts some important examples of Spanish Baroque religious art in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the city’s patron saint, and the churches of Santo Domingo and San Vicente. Whilst its renaissance period is manifested in buildings like the City Hall and on monuments like the Altar of the Cathedral and the superb sculpture in alabaster by Damián Forment.

In the nineteenth century Huesca became the provincial capital and progressed with the opening of the railway line in 1864. It later became an international terminal in 1928 with the construction of the railway tunnel of Canfranc high in the Pyrenees connecting Spain and France.

The twentieth century sees the construction of its main high street (los Cosos) as well as the Porches de Galicia and modernist buildings like the Casino in the main square and the building which houses the Provincial Council of Huesca, showing the vibrant look of a truly modern city.



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