Bolea, situated on a promontory intercepting the countryside with a commanding position over the plain, is enhanced at its highest point by the Santa María Collegiate. There is a magnificent view of the homes clustered around it on the hind slope facing the Gratal peak, and Bolea invites us to wander through its richly historical streets. It used to be a Roman possession, then called Calagurris Fibularia; it later passed into Moslem hands and was called Buluya, until King Pedro I made it part of the Christian kingdom of Aragon in 1101.
The collegiate was built by Pedro de Irazábal between 1541 and 1559. The current building was constructed over an ancient XII century Romanesque temple, of which the crypt beneath the presbytery, the head wall and the belfry tower still stand. It has three naves separated by a varied repertory of clustered pillars from XII century chapels, that come from an ancient Arab fortress. The entire temple is level in height and this gives it a pleasant, quite surprising, diaphanous effect.
But the most valuable jewel in this temple is the high altarpiece. It is a work of art combining sculpture and painting from the XVI century (1490 to 1503) in Gothic Mudejar, and belonged to the previous temple. It is composed of 20 panels painted in tempera and 57 sculptures carved in polychrome wood, cypress, walnut, cherry wood and Flanders pine. The paintings, executed by a famous painter from Bolea, are outstanding. Bolea offers important novelties in the Spanish pictorical art of the era influenced by Flemish and Italian artists, such as the expression of the characters’ feelings, the domination of space and perspective, light and shade. The colours, with their wide range of reds and greens, are most original.
Apart from many other altarpieces in this temple, you should stop to admire the view of La Hoya from here, letting history permeate your gaze with the remains of the Roman and Arabic past of these lands, on which successive generations have also left their own imprint.
Data of interest
Address: Herrerías, s/n. 22160 Bolea
- From June 1 to September 15: 10.00 -14.00 h // 16.00 – 19.300 h. Closed Monday, except August.
- From September 16 to October 31: 10.00 – 13.30h.. On Saturdays, Sundays and festive: 10.00 – 13.30 h. // 16.00-18.00 h. Closed Monday.
- From November 1 to March 15: 11.00 – 13.30h.. On Saturdays, Sundays and festive: 11.00 – 13.30 h. // 16.00-18.00 h. Monday and on closed Tuesday, except for organised visits.
- From March 16 to May 31: 10.00 -13.30h.. // 16.00-18.00 h. On Saturdays, Sundays and festive: 11.00 – 13.30 h. // 16.00-18.00 h. Closed Monday.
Price: 2 €, Groups, minimum 20 people: 1,5 €, Children free.