Catedral San Pedro of Jaca!!

These are territories that I love coming here several times and passing by hundreds not counted but so many times it has become my second home. This is Aragon, the old kingdom of it all in the north that most need to learn more about to better undertand the Spain of today. I like to show you a bit on one of its most representative jewels, the St Peter’s Cathedral or the Catedral San Pedro de Jaca! briefs as can be, here is my story with the help of my library.

The Cathedral of San Pedro is of course in Jaca,  in the province of Huesca, autonomous region of  Aragon, is one of the most characteristic and ancient Romanesque constructions in Spain. It began to be built almost at the same time as that of Santiago de Compostela in the last quarter of the 11C as the episcopal seat and head of the Kingdom of Aragon on the initiative of King Sancho Ramírez, who had obtained the Vatican vasselage after his trip to Rome in 1068 , as a result of which he was granted the episcopal seat.

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A bit of history I like

The city of Jaca receives jurisdictions as a city, by the king Sancho Ramírez of Aragon, in 1077, displaying the capital of the kingdom between this year and 1096 and becoming a diocesan seat, which makes necessary the construction of a cathedral. A first, the construction could be located between 1077 and 1082 that corresponds to the reign of Sancho Ramírez and the bishopric of his brother, the Infante Garcia, and a second between 1104 and 1130, which corresponds to the reign of Alfonso I the Battler (Batallador) and Esteban de Huesca as Bishop.

In the second decade of the 16C some additions  were made, such as the vaults of the lateral naves, the late Gothic, and the covers of the new Chapels of San Sebastián, San Agustín, Annunciation and Santa Ana. Later, in the Renaissance, the Chapels of St. Michael and the Trinity, both of 1572, were added. In 1598 the vault of the central nave is built and windows are opened in it. In the 17C the construction of the altarpiece was completed and the reconstruction of the cloister was undertaken, which was replaced by the current Baroque, finished at the end of the 17C. In this same period, the Chapel of Santa Orosia, the main baroque element of the temple, is built. Also at the end of the 17C the Romanesque apse is replaced and a new one is erected, decorated with paintings by Manuel de Bayeu, brother-in-law of Francisco de Goya, between 1792 and 1793.

A bit more on the construction style

The Saint Peter’s Cathedral preserves the Romanesque structure and configuration, with a basilica plant, several apses, and two access doors ,that of the Plaza de San Pedro, where in the past there was a homonymous monastery, and the southern gate, which in the 16C is endowed with portico, linked to the Plaza del Mercado, as well as a cupola in this southern apse where are located the architectural elements that summarize the characteristic language of the Romanesque architecture of the Camino de Santiago, which is then disseminated throughout the route of Compostela.

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The exterior of the Cathedral of San Pedro has two facades with doorways.  On the west facade of the Cathedral we find the atrium and the main façade, whose arch of greater radius, semicircular, links to the central nave, vault barrel, inside the temple. In the tympanum of this façade, the main one of the Cathedral, is an exceptional piece, the Chrisom, symbol of the Aragon’s monarchy and with a clear Trinitarian and penitent character. The chrisom or monogram of Christ, is wavered by two lions. In the facade we find another portico, made in the 16C with pieces from other parts of the Cathedral, highlighting the capitals made by the masters of Jaca. As for the apses, it is only preserved from the Romanesque that gives to the south, since the central and north, were modified in the 18C. In this apse you can see the tripartite organization of the wall both horizontally and vertically, characteristic of the Romanesque Jaquésan extended by other constructions of the Camino de Santiago. At the top of the building is a belfry with the bells of the Cathedral, a piece that was added in the 16C.

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The interior of the Catedral de San Pedro show us a plant of the temple is basilical of three naves ,and five bays, of which the central is wider and higher than the lateral ones, allowing thus to open the stained glass in the wall of the central nave and above the lateral ones to illuminate its interior. The nave extend to the three semicircular apses with the organ and the chorus, which were at the foot of the central nave and which moved to the apse, although the transfer was carried out in 1919. The area of the transept is covered with a unique semispherical vault of octagonal plant on horns. In the Baroque period the Chapel of Santa Orosia, the Patron Saint of the city of Jaca, was done, decorated with striking paintings showing his life, martyrdom and encounter of his body. It is worth mentioning the cloister , which is part of the Diocesan Museum of Jaca, one of the most outstanding in Spain of Romanesque painting; It shows Romanesque paintings of the jaquésan area that were in Churches such as Navaa, Ruesta or Bagües.

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The decoration of  the Catedral San Pedro is nice with capitals, corbels and metopics are decorated with scenes of the Bible, On the bases , the two elements originating in the jaquésan Romanesque art can be seen along the Camino de Santiago, which shows the influence exerted along this pilgrimage route.  At the side door of the Cathedral is carved the pattern of a unit of measure called Vara Jaquesa (Jaquesan Rod) , a measure of the medieval period equivalent to 77 cm today or about 30 inches). This unit was used during the Middle Ages in the market located in the Plaza de la Catedral square to measure lengths, and this metric unit was used throughout Aragon.

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Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and understand more this jewel of my beloved Spain are:

The city of Jaca on the Cathedralhttps://www.jaca.com/catedral.php

The Huesca province tourist office on the Cathedral/museumhttps://www.huescaturismo.com/en/monumental-detalle/7/the-diocesan-cathedral-museum/

The Catholic Diocese of Jaca on the Cathedralhttps://www.diocesisdejaca.org/index.php/catedral-de-san-pedro-de-jaca

The Roman Aragon heritage on the cathedral webpage: http://www.romanicoaragones.com/0-Jacetania/03-Catedral01.htm

There you go folks, this is another jewel you need to get away from big cities to go see, is a must and a well interpretation of Spain then and now. The Catedral de San Pedro of Jaca,  go see it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “Catedral San Pedro of Jaca!!”

  1. The details are so amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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