Huesca thematic

Number 75. August of 2004. Spanish language  Principal menu

Novales Town

Morisco urban quarter
castle and recovered church

     Place of the province of Huesca, to 16 km. of the capital. It`s situated to the South East of the Hoya de Huesca, next to the course of the Guatizalema river, to 464 ms. of altitude. In 1998, it had 189 inhabitants.
    It is possible to accede from the general highway of Barbastro, by Argavieso, or directly from the capital, to Castelflorite and both Alberos, the Alto and the Bajo one. It is left back, but always visible, the Hole of Huesca, to line up by the first mountainous reliefs of ocher earth being fused with the arenaceous stone that crowns brief summits. All the contour is reached with the vision, from town to town, moorland in search of the Somontano, with its itinerary of castles next to the one of Montearagón: Argavieso, Pueyo de Gañanes, Piracés, Novales... The same arenaceous stone that shows by the crests served a day to raise the strengths, today in ruins.
     The landscape is flat in its greater proportion, without hardly trees; only earth with the furrows opened to the cereal. In Novales breaks the plain, as it happens in almost all the towns of the zone, because the buildings looked for the protection of the castle, and each strength chose for its establishment the highest place, although sometimes I will be a smooth hill, a minimal platform over the own landscape. It is the case of Novales, with its castle-palace of trapezial plant, rectangular tower.
      "Noval" was always called the new earth field; "novales" are the earth that are opened to the cultivations for the first time, creation workings, of maternity, that reached supreme levels in the hands of the man. Perhaps Novales had its origins in these new earth. Possibly, because the capital expanded beyond itself, in the shade of Montearagón. The new earth were born to pay debts and to give life to new domains. History demonstrates it. And each gentleman had his castle-palace, his strength, a residence ready to the defense. In the tactical mission of Novales its castle, along with those of Argavieso and Pueyo de Fañanás, had to face the one of Piracés
     It dominates the white colour in the buildings. It hurts the whitewashed facades. The streets have irregular layout and all of them almost run in slope, because in the maxim level, the castle and the parochial church rise. Nevertheless, the City Council square is plani, like the street that serves to it as access, from the highway; it is an ample squeare, of rectangular form, with great rows of balconies opened to the sun and the wind. The white colour increases the solar radiation, and gets more light to the urban, clean and impeccable. Until the mud walls appear whitewashed. At the end of the streets the castle or the church, the field or the blue firmament are seen, also limpid, because the clouds furrow passengers more of the times. It is as well as the desert receives its character. The luminosity of the landscape has flooded the town, with its Moorish design in some urban thoroughfares.
     In 1611 there were thirteen houses of moorishs. It is the history of other so many Aragonese towns. The names of arab origin have remained in many cases to give testimony of that same history of yesterday. Novales extends its term of less of twenty-one square kilometers (20.1 Km2) to the right of Guatizalema river, that also takes resonances Moors. Silence fills the atmosphere of the place. At midday, the streets are empty, without living soul in them. The life is locked in in the houses or the field. By the others, it is an alive town, tremendously alive; note in the details, the immaculate whiteness of the buildings. Silence can be translated in rest. When the sun arrives at the zenith, the towns -all- become drowsy. Not even the trill of a bird, the quack of a crow is listened to. From the highway, the gigantic mass of the castle eats to the other buildings. It is seen with its large windows weakened by which the sun and the wind are strained, with its narrow windows floods of light, because the ruin made disappear the inner dark.
     The conquest of Novales was delayed until 1103 and at that time the possession of the castle corresponded to Fortún Garcés del Valle, although his tenth parts and first fruits were for Montearagón.

     In 1120, Fortún Garcés offered himself to the canons of Huesca with his wife's consent Mrs. Toda.
      According to Guitart Aparicio, in 1158 Novales was under the possession of Galindo Jiménez de Pozán. The castle was jail of Bernaldo de Cabrera, fallen in misfortune by Pedro IV (1364), and he left here to be executed in Zaragoza. In 1451 it was domain of Luis de Santángel, who commited himself to finish the stone tower. Later it belonged to the branch of the Bardají family (from Huesca) , owner also of the baronies of Zaidín, Antillón and Pertusa, represented in 1626 by Juán de Torrellas-Gurrea Bardají, when he received the title of count of Castelflorite. All these gentlemen got up themselves in 1753 to the Down Aragonese branch of the Bardají, Marquesses of Cañizar. Lately, the castle-palace belonged to the Marquess of Ayerbe.
      The entrance to the parade ground takes place by a great semicircular gangway, with voussoirs, in whose superior center the shield can be seen, of that single is left the form, since the quarters have disappeared by the action of the time. To the left there are two houses, that would be occupied until recent time, since they still conserve its doors and windows, as well as a vine arbor and modern reforms in their accesses. The ruin, nevertheless, is seizing of all the set, where they alternate the arenaceous stone, the brick and the tapial.

      The church of Asunción is contiguous to the castle and is of Romanesque origin, of ashlar masonry stone with some added. It has a single ship, and the bell tower, in form of belfry, it rises to half of the same one, in the left lateral. Modest Renaissance cover shines, without there are other elements of interest worthy to consider. In front of the bell tower, in the esplanade that crowns the summit of the town, there is a beautiful park infantile, apt also for greater, from where a immense panoramic of the region is contemplated, with fields and towns, of plain and mounts, crests which they announce the proximity of the mountain range, to the bottom.

      The main celebrations are in honor to the Virgin of the Rosary in October. There are other celebrations, but of particuar kind, because are celebrations organized by some houses with "long pedigree" in the town, as those of Benedet - the armera stone shines on the facade -, of Nadal and Peña. Romerías(religious procession) has gone to less, although Novales had several: to San Joaquin they went at the end of the harvesting, to thank for the harvest, and the 23 of April and the 9 of May, to the Virgin of Corona (Crown), in Piracés.

      Yet, Novales is a town opened to the hope, with the tended routes of the future to it. Its proximity to the capital, that long ago could harm to it, favors to it now, because the towns are reaching their right revaluation. One loves silence and the environmental purity that surrounds him, the white colour that hurts the eyes, the light falling, flooding all corners. The castle, above, is only a memory, ruinous vestige of the history that was; the today history, the one that matters more, tends down, with renewed vitality. It interests the present on all things, although everyone yearns for to know his origin - to know from where comes and where he goes -, and the future that waits dazzling, announcing, who knows, in the white of that promising light.


 Photograpic walking
* Alfonso Zapater: "Aragón pueblo a pueblo"

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