Its Romanesque cloister cannot be missed on a visit to Aragon
Declared in 1885 as a National Monument, it is a pure sample of Aragonese Romanesque architecture and one of the two architectonic jewels of the monumental heritage in the city and of Upper Aragon. It is situated in the ancient district of the city and was erected over what used to be a temple in the Mozarab quarter of the Moslem city. In 1117 it was donated to the Benedictine Order and it was then that works began on the monastery in the Romanesque style that we can admire today.
The tympanum over the northern entrance is valuable. It shows a magnificent monogram of the Trinity supported by two beautiful angels. The monogram is a common feature of Aragonese Romanesque churches; it is Christ’s monogram and it is accompanied here by the alfa and omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The reference is to a Christ who is the Beginning and the End of all things.
The church has three naves covered with high fluted vaults. The choir stalls date from 1506. In the interior there are XIII century French-Gothic paintings.
One of the most beautiful and well-known parts of this church are the cloisters dating from 1149, although they were restored in the XIX century. The carved Romanesque capitals are exceptional. 18 of them are original and the rest are faithful reproductions of the original Romanesque ones done in the XIX century. They represent the life of Jesus Christ, as well as other historical and allegorical motifs, particularly the capital depicting a female dancer; the movement in this sculpture is most unusual for its period. The chapel of San Bartolomé is in the same cloister, with the Royal Pantheon containing the remains of the kings Alfonso I “The Fighter” and Ramiro II “The Monk”, author of the gory Mediaeval legend of the Huesca Bell.
Data of interest
Address: Plaza de San Pedro el Viejo
Telephone: 974 222 387
Summer (June, July, August, September), Monday – Saturday: 10 to 13.30 and 16 to 19.30 hours.
Rest of the year, 10 to 13.30 and 16 to 18 hours.Sundays and Public Holidays: Only open for prayer.
Price: 2 €. Reduction: 1.5 € (for groups and pensioners). Children free.