Huesca thematic

Number 67. December of 2003. Spanish language  Principal menu

Church of San Agustín (Huesca)

A work of the century XIII
built 'out-walls' of the city

      Long trajectory the one of this church, that corresponds to location of old hermitage of Santa Maria de Afuera, - Santa Maria de Foris (or Foras, by being "outside" of the stone wall, that is to say, 'extrawalls') -, taht was built in front of the door of Montearagón (the popular Porteta -the very little door-), to the side of the way of the same name (in the East flank of the urban helmet) that, crossing the Isuela river by the bridge of tables, lead to the illustrious abbey and famous castle of Montearagón.
      From year 1135 there are references of its existence like head of its district, maintaining its condition of parish to 1422. In it settled bernardas nuns coming from the monasteries of Santa Maria de Iguácel (in the Garcipollera or "valley of the onions") and of Cambrón, near Sádaba, until 1473, in which they returned to the second. Later, in 1510, the bishop allowed to settle down in this church to the augustinians, on condition that they annually paid four capons to him in the Christmas eve.
     To this convent the honor was possible to it to lodge to the illustrious Navarrese agustino and famous mystical writer fray Pedro Malón de Chaide (graduated and doctorate in Theology by the Sertoriana university , and there professor and accountant), that in 1579 or 1580 wrote here the famous Book of the conversion of the Magdalena, highest work of the mystical Literature of the Century of Gold, very praised by Don Marcelino Menéndez and Pelayo.
     In 1788 the augustinians would happen to occupy the residence and temple of the expelled Jesuits. In the occasion of the call war of the Convention, against revolutionary France (1793), this old convent of augustinians fulfilled functions of military hospital until year 1796. From then the convent became house of abandoned children, employee of the Cathedral. The bishop Don Cayetano de la Peńa and Granda, who thought to institute here a House of Mercy of great 'standing', did not get to see his intentions reality, because he had passed away in 1792. In 1830 it happened to depend of the 'Junta de la Sitiada' and later (1838) on the provincial Charity. The building was recovered in 1842 and extended later.
      Constructed in ashlar masonry, its factory can be dated in second half of century XIII, although it maintains vestiges of previous times. It presents its access in the side of the epistle, through an arc of average point on imposts. Nevertheless, the original entrance, of much greater interest, is under the tower and it is made up of four archivolts on floral capitals. It develops its plant in a single ship with four sections covered by vault of gun tracked on arcs fajones. In its polygonal head, covered by vault with boss (decorative projection), appears a chequered frieze and braces, and in its outside the ceiling stands out on modillons of rolls.

      The tower, of square plant, is leaned to the outside of the factory (the church body) and it is developed in two bodies, first with small windows of average point, and the superior one with ample pointed hollows. It is romanesque in its low part and gothic in the rest, of century XIV, and in it, the prisoners of the Inquisition were locked, and mainly the witches, when saying of the Aynsa historian.
      The urban remodeling of this zone del old helmet of the city of Huesca, has undressed it of almost all the small villages that surrounded it - with a certain typical style -, leaving it perhaps, more evident, more present .....
      This Church is called thus, by to have comprised of disappeared convent of San Agustín or Santa Maria de Foris, of the agustinians order. Still it continues being its faithful companion the apparent solidity of the large houses of the old Provincial Residence of Children (to that belonged) that so many uses and destinies suffered at the end of the last century. Between some of the functions that this Residence carried out - and by a long time -, the one went to give lodging to the Courts of Huesca.

      Today, the street Round of the Miseridordia -where the church is located- has continuity of road traffic with the Lucas Mallada promenade, saving rio Isuela by a new bridge that replaces the one of "tables or the Devil"; name this of the Devil that takes many bridges and that must to fabulous legend relative to their construction or episodes located in it. Long ago the way of the Mercy went this way that left from the door of Santo Domingo -from the earth wall- to get to be united to the way of Montearagón, before the church of Santa Maria de Foris.
      At the moment, new constructions and next urbanizations are giving a renewed and flourishing air to this zone of the city, that during lustrums seems to have somewhat unnoticed past to the eyes of the visitor; perhaps by beingin at a zone of noneasy urban growth.


* Manuel Tomé Bosqued
** Julio V. Brioso

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