The small town of Huescar is known as "Cuidad de la Paz" (City of Peace). It sits at an altitude of 953 metres and has a population of less than 8,500. Its ancient traditions and folklore are kept alive and the rural lifestyle is that of the authentic Andalusian village. The natural surroundings are picturesque, with the stunning backdrop of mountain peaks and greenery.
Just outside the town there is an outdoor fresh water pool where all the family can enjoy a swim and every Thursday there is a village market. Outdoor activities abound, whether it's walking in the Vidriera pine forest or taking to the Sagra Mountain tracks, the natural beauty is in abundance. For those who prefer a gentler walk, there is also the Rodriguez Penalva Municipal Park in the Avenida de Granada.
Convento de las Dominicas
The Convent of the Dominican Nuns of the Mother of God
The Convent of the Dominican Nuns, or 'Convento de las Dominicas' as it is known in the area, dates back to around 1570 when there was talk of the need to build a convent for the sisters. It was not until around 1612, however that building works began.
Thanks to the generosity of the widow of the nobleman, Micer Ruiz (during the reign of Emperor Carlos V), the building works took place. The large convent is still in existence and still remains home to the order of Dominican Sisters today. The building was constructed on land previously taken up by Moorish homes. The convent acted as a hospital for pilgrims and the very poor in times gone by and again from 1936 - 1939, during the difficult times of the Spanish Civil War.
Iglesia de Santiago
Church of Santiago
The church, which is in Calle Alhondiga has three aisles and ceiling vaults which are almost cut in half at the left hand side wall and the central aisle has low half sided arches.
In 1910 a fire destroyed part of ceiling and vaults, leaving part of the original building intact. A rather strange and interesting feature of the church is the existence of two Muslim columns in polyhedral form. The tower is on the left hand side and the west entrance door is in renaissance style. To see inside the church building, go along on Sunday morning between 10:00 and 11:30.
Iglesia de la Soledad
Church of Soledad
This church represents an important part of the evolution of the urban life in Huescar and is in Calle Morote, (the old Baza / Castillejar road), which forms part of the present route from Granada to Valencia. In the 16th century the building was known as the hermitage of San Sebastian and was used as a centre for helping plague victims in the middle Ages. Despite the destruction of ecclesiastic records in 1936, historians can confirm that the Franciscan order set up here in Huescar at the beginning of the 17th century.
Then the sisterhood of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad took over the hermitage and renamed it, converting it into the small church that it is today. This simple building devoid of elaborate decoration is an important landmark in Huescar, the City of Peace. The leafy surroundings of the little church and annex building make the setting picturesque and tranquil
Ermita del Angel
Hermitage of the Angel
The Hermitage is found on the road out towards the village of Castril. The best time to visit is Tuesday of Easter Holy Week (Semana Santa), when part of the procession of Los Descalzos (barefoot pilgrims) sets out from here.
Colegiata de Santa Maria
Santa Maria Teaching Church
This teaching church of cathedral dimensions and in Gothic/Renaissance style from the beginning of the 16th century, is emblematic of Huescar and its historic past. The building is an interesting mix of elements brought in from Toledo as well as Andalusia.
Different architects from the Renaissance period have left their mark on this magnificent building, constructed to the highest specifications. Enrique Egas from Toledo and Jacobo Florentin are attributed as having overseen the creation of the magnificent door to the old Sacristy, amongst other things. Inside there are many contrasting elements of interest, including the gothic vault and the baroque chancel. Some parts of the church had to be rebuilt after destruction during the Civil War.
Convento de Santo Domingo
Santa Domingo Convent
Built in 1547, this wonderful building in Calle Mayor, has three aisles with high central ceiling, which is beautifully decorated.
Due to the passion for theatre in Spain in the 19th century, the Huescar Theatre Society took the building over in 1858. The pulpit area of the church became the stage, while the rest became the stalls, balconies and boxes. Years later, when the advent of cinema gradually took away the previously enthusiastic theatre audiences, the Huescar Theatre finally closed down.
A recent survey of the building has been carried out to restore this important historic monument and put it to good use, by adapting it for socio-cultural activities for locals and visitors.
Casa de los Penalva Serrano
The Penalva Serrano House
If you come across this building by surprise in Huescar, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had lost your way and ended up in Barcelona. This Gaudi style house is situated in El Paseo del Santo Cristo, where it stands out in all its beauty. The Catalan modernist design is both unusual and yet blends in perfectly amongst the Huescar architecture.
Torre del Homenaje
The Tower of Homage
In La Plaza Alhondiga there are three interesting tombstone plaques from the Arabic era. These plaques are set into the wall and although slightly broken up through the passage of time, the text in memorandum is still clear. These memorial stones come from the old Roman necropolis.
Canal de Carlos III & Puente de Animas
The Carlos III Canal and the Bridge of Purgatory
This rather ambitious aqueduct project dates back to the 18th century, the idea being to take the mountain water over to the fertile land in Murcia. The concept was to be a predecessor to the present Tajo-Segura canal. The idea came about in 1537, in line with the custom at that time in the Iberian Peninsular to build canals.
Although some work on the project took place 1633, it was soon abandoned. During the following years between the 18th and 19th centuries numerous attempts were made at the construction of the final project, the name passing from one king to another, depending on the reign on the moment. It remains known as "Canal Carlos III", a monument to the massive engineering feat it could have been.
For further information, contact the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) of Huescar:
Ayuntamiento de Huéscar
Plaza Mayor, 1
Tel: 958 740 036
Fax: 958 740 061