Huesca (Spanish: [ˈweska]; Aragonese: Uesca) 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 of the comarca of Hoya de Huesca. In 2009 it had a population of 52,059, almost a quarter of the total population of the province. The city is one of the smallest provincial capitals in Spain.
The city of Huesca as seen from the cathedral
Coat of arms
Gate of the Pyrenees
Location of Huesca within Aragon
|Coordinates: 42°8′N 0°25′W|
|Comarca||Hoya de Huesca|
|• Body||Ayuntamiento de Huesca|
|• Mayor||Luis Eliseo Felipe (2015) (PSOE)|
|• Total||161.0 km2 (62.2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||488 m (1,601 ft)|
|• Density||330/km2 (840/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
22001 - 22006
|Patron Saints||Saint Lawrence|
Huesca dates from pre-Roman times, and was once known as Bolskan in the ancient Iberian language. It was once the capital of the Vescetani, in the north of Hispania Tarraconensis, on the road from Tarraco (modern Tarragona) and Ilerda (modern Lleida) to Caesaraugusta (modern Zaragoza). During Roman times, the city was known as Osca, and was a Roman colony under the rule of Quintus Sertorius, 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 Roman customs. After Sertorius, it is thought that it was renamed Ileoscan (Ἰλεόσκαν) by Strabo. It appears to have been situated on silver mines.
Eighteenth-century Spanish historian Enrique Flórez has pointed out the impossibility of one city supplying such vast quantities of minted silver as has been recorded by ancient writers under the terms argentum Oscense, signatum Oscense; and is of the opinion that "Oscense" meant "Spanish", being a corruption of "Eus-cara". The Romanised city was made a municipium by decree of Augustus in 30 BC.
The Arabs conquered the city in the late 8th century, and the city came to be called Washqah (وشقة in Arabic), falling within the Upper March of the Emirate of Córdoba. It was ruled by a local governor appointed from Córdoba, but was repeatedly subject to political turmoil, rebellion and assassination as the Banu Qasi, Banu Amrus and Banu al-Tawil clans, as well as the Arista dynasty of Pamplona, struggled for control, autonomy and independence from the Emirate. In the mid-10th century, Wasqah was transferred to the Banu Tujibi, who governed the Upper March from Zaragoza, and it became part of the Taifa of Zaragoza in 1018 when they successfully freed themselves from the disintegrating Caliphate. In 1094 Sancho Ramirez built the nearby Castle of Montearagón with the intention of laying siege to Wasqah but was killed by a stray arrow as he reached the city's walls. It was conquered in 1096 by Peter I of Aragon.
In 1354, King Peter IV of Aragon founded the University of Huesca, which initially had a faculty of theology. The school expanded, but by the end of the 16th century was eclipsed by the University of Zaragoza. The university was abolished in 1845.
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, but didn't fall.
Huesca celebrates its most important annual festival in August: the festival (or fiesta) of San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence), a native of Huesca martyred in 268 AD. The anniversary of his martyrdom falls on August 10. The fiesta starts on 9 August and finishes on the 15. Many of the inhabitants dress in green and white for the duration.
San Lorenzo, born in Huesca, was a deacon in Rome and a martyr who, according to legend, was burned on a grille by the Romans. The grille is the symbol of San Lorenzo and 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, a 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.
Huesca lies on a plateau in the northern region of Aragón, with an elevation of 488 m (1,601.05 ft) above sea level. Close to the city lie the Sierra de Guara mountains, which reach 2,077 m. The geographical coordinates of the city are: 42° 08´ N, 0° 24´ W.
Its municipal area is 161.02 km ² and borders the municipalities of Almudévar, Vicién, Monflorite-Lascasas Tierz, Quicena, Loporzano, Nueno, Igriés, Banastás, Chimillas, Alerre, Barbués and Albero Bajo.
The city lies 71 kilometres (44 mi) from Zaragoza, 160 kilometres (99 mi) from Pamplona, 118 kilometres (73 mi) from Lleida, 380 kilometres (236 mi) from Madrid and 273 kilometres (169 mi) from Barcelona.
Coat of arms
Both the modern Coat of Arms of Huesca (es) (which date from the 16th century) and its mediaeval predecessor (from the 13th) include at their top the device of a block having a V-shaped notch. It is commonly said that it symbolises Salto de Roldán ('Roland's Leap'), a natural rock formation about 25 km (16 mi) north of the city. Some writers have suggested that the official Spanish name of Huesca (Catalan: Osca) derives from a Latin, Basque and Catalan word osca, meaning notch or indentation, referring to the Salto de Roldán.
Huesca has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). with semi-arid influences. Winters are cool (with normal maximums from 8 to 16 °C and minimums from -2 to 6 °C) and summers are hot, with daily maximums reaching up to 35 °C (95 °F), while the rainiest seasons are autumn and spring. The average precipitation is 480 mm per year. Frost is common and there is sporadic snowfall, with an average of 3 snowy days per year.
|Climate data for Huesca Airport, 541 m a.s.l. (1981-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||20.3
|Average high °C (°F)||9.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.2
|Average low °C (°F)||1.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−12.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||31
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||5||5||4||6||7||4||3||3||4||7||6||6||61|
|Average snowy days||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3|
|Average relative humidity (%)||78||70||61||60||57||50||47||50||57||67||76||81||63|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||138||173||230||243||275||302||346||314||247||197||146||123||2,732|
A double line of ancient walls can still be seen in present-day Huesca.
Churches of Huesca
- Huesca Cathedral (Catedral de la Transfiguración del Señor) is a Gothic style Cathedral, built by king James I of Aragon around 1273 on the ruined foundations of a mosque. Work continued until the fifteenth century, and the Cathedral is now one of the architectural gems of northern Spain. The doorway, built between 1300 and 1313, has carvings depicting the Apostles. The interior contains a triple nave and chapels. It includes a magnificent high altar made from alabaster, carved to represent the crucifixion, built between 1520 and 1533 by Damián Forment. The cloister and the bell-tower were built in the fifteenth century.
- Monastery of San Pedro el Viejo, erected between 1100 and 1241, is one of the oldest Romanesque structures in the Iberian Peninsula. It was partially rebuilt in the seventeenth century, and retains its cloister built in 1140.
- Church of St. Lawrence (Iglesia de San Lorenzo), built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
- Iglesia de Santo Domingo, a Baroque style church.
- Iglesia de la Compañía San Vicente, from the 17th century
- Ermita de Ntr. Sra. de Salas, a Romanesque and Baroque hermitage.
- Ermita de Loreto, San Lorenzo's oldest hermitage, according to tradition.
- Ermita de San Jorge, built in memory of the Battle of Alcoraz
- Ermita de las Mártires
- Ermita de Santa Lucía
- Ermita de Jara, in ruins
- San Miguel, a Romanesque tower
- Santa María de Foris, built in a transitional Romanesque style
- Santa Cruz, Seminary, on Romanesque foundations.
- There are several old monasteries in the local area. One in the Castle of Montearagón contains the tomb of king Alfonso I of Aragon in its crypt.
- The Museum of Huesca occupies the building formerly belonging to the old university. The famous "Bell of Huesca" lies in one of its vaults, and is said to have been constructed from the heads of rebels who were executed by King Ramiro II of Aragon.
- Amrus ibn Yusuf (Huesca, 760- 808/9 or 813/4 Talavera de la Reina or Zaragoza), general of the Emirate of Córdoba and governor of Zaragoza
- Petrus Alphonsi (Born at an unknown date in the 11th century in Huesca, died 1140?), was a Jewish Spanish physician, writer, astronomer, and polemicist, who converted to Christianity.
- Petronilla of Aragon (Huesca, 1136 – 15 October 1173), Queen of Aragon from the abdication of her father in 1137 until her own abdication in 1164.
- Alfonso II of Aragon (Huesca, March 1157 – 25 April 1196), was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1164 until his death.
- Peter II of Aragon (Huesca, July 1178 – 12 September 1213) was the King of Aragon (as Pedro II) and Count of Barcelona (as Pere I) from 1196 to 1213.
- Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa (Huesca, 1607 - 1681), collector, scholar, Spanish cultural promoter and patron.
- Valentín Carderera (Huesca, 1796 - Madrid, 1880), promoter of the arts, writer and academic art painter.
- Lucas Mallada y Pueyo (Huesca, 1841 - Madrid 1921), mining engineer, paleontologist and writer, belonging to Regenerationism movement.
- Fidel Pagés (Huesca, January 26, 1886 - September 21, 1923 Madrid), Spanish military surgeon, known for developing the technique of epidural anesthesia.
- Ramón Acín Aquilué (1888, Huesca, Aragon, Spain – 1936), anarcho-syndicalist, teacher, writer and avant-garde artist murdered by fascists in the first year of the Spanish Civil War.
- Pepín Bello (13 May 1904, Huesca – 11 January 2008) intellectual and writer. He was regarded as the last survivor of the "Generation of '27"
- Julio Alejandro (Huesca, 1906 – 1995 Javea), was a Spanish screenwriter. He wrote for 80 films between 1951 and 1984.
- Antonio Saura (September 22, 1930, Huesca – July 22, 1998, Cuenca) was a Spanish artist and writer, one of the major post-war painters to emerge in Spain in the fifties.
- Carlos Saura (born 4 January 1932, Huesca) is a Spanish film director and photographer.
- Josep Acebillo (born in Huesca, Spain, in 1946) architect.
- Esteban Navarro (Moratalla, 1965), writer. Huesca resident since 2001.
- Nunilo and Alodia (Huesca, A.D. 851), martyrs of Christianity. Died after refusing to deny Christ.
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.
Huesca is also famous for the legend of the Bell of Huesca.
The Autovía A-23 runs through Huesca, connecting the city with Zaragoza. While under construction as of 2018, the Autovía A-22 also connects Huesca to Lleida. The two highways will eventually connect.
Huesca has been served by Huesca–Pirineos Airport since 1930, but the airport does not currently have any scheduled commercial passenger services.
In 2018, SD Huesca, a football club from the town, became the first football team from Huesca to be promoted to La Liga. They became the 63rd team to ever play in the league, and their stadium's maximum capacity will be the smallest in the 2018-19 La Liga.
- "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
- Antonine Itinerary pp. 391, 451.
- iii. p. 161; v. Friedrich August Ukert, vol. ii. pt. 1. p. 451.
- Livy xxxiv. 10, 46, xl. 43.
- Med. ii. 520.
- Cf. Julius Caesar Commentarii de Bello Civili i. 60; Velleius Paterculus ii. 30; "Euskara", Basque for the Basque language.
- Hastings Rashdall, The universities of Europe in the middle ages, Volume 2, Part 1, Oxford, 1895, pp. 92-94.
- Hans Hoefe & Andrew Eames, Spain, 2d ed 1993, p. 305.
- Alagón, Alejandro. "Leyendas asociadas al Salto de Roldán". academia.edu (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- Pacheu Grau, David. "Tradicions Oscenses: Salto del Roldan". eloscense.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "El Escudo de Huesca". altoaragon.org (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "Valores Climatológicos Normales. Huesca / Aeropuerto".
- "Cities twinned with Huesca. Huesca City Hall". Huesca.es. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- Michael H. Crawford, 1985. Coinage and Money Under the Roman Republic in series Library of Numismatics (London: Methuen and Co. Ltd.), pages 84 – 102.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
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