Huesca temática

Number 101. October of 2006Spanish language Principal menu


Aniés in the "Sotonera"

A pleasant town
flanked by Loarre and Bolea town.

      Place of Sotonera, in the county of Huesca, with around 200 inhabitants. Its altitude is of 761 meters on the sea level. It's 26 kilometers from Huesca. The gentile name is aniesino.
      To arrive, we leave from the great plain of the Valley of Huesca (Hoya de Huesca -Huesca Hole-), from the highway of Ayerbe, to look for the mount, there where the mountain will be divided in two (although it continues fused to each other) to generate the mountains of Loarre and Gratal. The route can be carried out taking the deviation in Esquedas, for Bolea, or from Ayerbe, by Loarre. The secondary highway will be curved to the base of the mountains; then we will continue for the deviation that leads directly to Aniés. They can be contemplated to a side and another of that highway the extensive work fields. Of the earth rocky place emerge, that appear its stability in view of the traveler. The holm oaks are advance of the pines. It is smelled of ontina and rosemary.
      Aniés belongs to the municipality of Sotonera that has its capitalidad in Bolea. The census has gone descending with the years. In 1978 it ended up counting two hundred thirty six inhabitants.
     The urban central area of Aniés leans back in the river bed. Its layout is regular, with prevalence of the direct line in the streets that it is impossible, as it leaves reaching height, in direction to the sanctuary of Peña's Virgin that is located "among the old and noble villages of Ayerbe and Bolea, as a result of the mountains of Jaca -the Father Faci wrote in 1739-, on a rock or towering crag that the nature prepared there for throne of our Queen: looked the elevation and how cut that is, it is represented before being experienced, as impossible the ascent to its summit, and experienced, it is always difficult and naturally dangerous, because there is not, neither it can have another ascent that the made by devotion, more than the art, forming in the same alive rock, some tiers that go surrounding it ...".
      The cross of term of Aniés has presided over always the way to the cemetery. The urban nucleus stretches out contained, as if it was about connecting the mount and the plain. The earth goes losing the layer ocher to get dressed of green that in the height will be more intense.
     The parochial church is of plant of Latin cross, of a ship and polygonal apse. It's covered with lunettes vault, and the cruise with blind dome. The origin was romanesque, as the facade, with six archivolts; it is also romanesque all old construction. Then the rising amplification works arrived that modified the primitive structure. These reformations date of the XVIII century. The steeple-tower rises slender, and it is also of later time.
     When the mountain is next, the hermitages make an exhibition. The invocations looked for their seat in the most inaccessible places, maybe because they were more safe of the infidels. The reconquest always planted its flags and its devotions in the maximum heights. In Aniés, they are counted till four hermitages.
      They are constructions that belong together with the same time; in general the XVII-XVIII centuries, except in those cases where the rock served from refuge to the corresponding invocation. The hermitage of San Cosme, of the XVII century, is composed of a ship with two tracts, and that of Santa Bárbara, of a rectangular ship, with a small atrium preceding it. The devotion was stayed, although the buildings ended up threatening ruin. It has not happened similar with San Cristóbal's hermitage, located in the cavity of a rock, with three tracts, exercising the central one as a hermit place.
      The hermitage of Our Mrs. of Peña, to three kilometers from Aniés, was able to maintain its old excellence. "It is amid the boulders of its mountain that it is necessary to take advantage of the stairway practiced in the same rocks to ascend to it, and then, once in the summit, to descend for some steps of same class, until arriving at a small square..." At a side it is the hermitage and to the other one the hostelry. The place is excessively picturesque. In the center of the square there's a small cave, guardian of the Virgin's image, according to the tradition.

     The father Roque Alberto Faci makes this story of the miraculous discovery: "There being a military gentleman of those that garnished the neighboring castle of Loarre, gone out to hunt by those mounts and mountains with a hawk, released it against a distant partridge, the one which, escaping from its cruel enemy, hurtled inside the mentioned depth, to where, in pursuit of the partridge, the hawk continued its flight. It made this there so long mansion without returning to its owner's hands who fearful of losing the hawk began to make the diligences to recover it. He wanted to go down to that depth, but being for then impossible (without the stone tiers that today has), he prepared that goes down a servant bundle to a long rope; the servant arrived to the deep thing and there as a mysterious, upon marvelous altarpiece composed of a magnificent bramble, in whose right side was the image of Our Lady and in the sinister one the partridge alive, like under the sacred of that Sovereign Queen; and this way, although leaned of the hawk, free of its cruelty, because this, as forgotten of its bloody instinct seemed to be as absent and admired of seeing in so hidden place a so beautiful show. But more the devote Christian admired it, seeing there united the shade and the light (I'm saying), to Sacred Mary and the bramble, to carry out in term of Aniés, the Moses' great mission in the mount Oreb. The gentleman returned, as newsy already of that treasure, happier to his house, and communicating to the Christian so happy news they went in procession to the place, and taking out of it the image transferred it to the very old church of San Pedro Apostle that for then there was in the root of this boulder; today there are only vestiges of it and of some neighboring constructions that in Aniés understand to have been of Templars; that it is not small conjecture to be today Aniés commend of gentlemen of San Juan that followed to those of the Temper in many goods and places. The same tradition affirms that was restored the image, an or more times from this temple of San Pedro, to the concave of that boulder where it was found by the servant and gentleman, reason why, worshipping those of Aniés the expressed will of Our Mrs., they erected devote in that concave the church in that today She is worshipped; for these last circumstances should call hereself appeared this sacred image, no matter how much the first ones only insinuate miraculous discovery. It is conserved in this church a written memory, although with letter not very old (but without a doubt transferred of other, or another very old ones) in that one says: "This appearance happened in the years of 903...".

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      Aniés worships Peña's Virgin like patron saint and celebrates its party September 8.
     The traditional pilgrimage takes place May 8 and also join to it the towns of Rasal and Bentué. Once up - what represents a great effort for the pilgrims - it is necessary to descend forty two steps to arrive at the hermitage, located in the bottom of the cavity, and later ascend to reach the hostelry again. A source that are named "of miraculous water", satiates the thirst of the pilgrim.
      Aniés is all landscape, causing of surprising sensations, as much from the town as from the hermitage. In the same urban area, near the parochial church, there is a viewpoint that shows a beautiful and very wide panorama, in which is, at the end, the majestic castle of Loarre. That view is able to evoke distant times.

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Alfonso ZapaterManuel Tomé  Photographic album of Aniés * "Aragón Pueblo a Pueblo", by Alfonso Zapater
** Manuel Tomé Bosqued




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