the old part of the city
the smallest squares
In a city's old town, the spaces to be
found between the streets become especially interesting, expanses opened
up throughout time for differing reasons, rich meeting points, loaded
with meaning and giving their own flavour to urban streets. Along with
the crossroads of the walled city's two main streets, the routes interspersed
with these spaces are one of Huesca's principal features.
This diverse environment, often made up
of contrasting sensations, surpasses a mere architectural analysis, to
submerge itself in evocations of urban life, both past and present.. It
is precisely this power of suggestion which best sums up the space surrounding
buildings from any epoch, not only seen in their physical aspect, but
also as possibilities thrown up by interaction with their environment.
One tour which hardly manages to include everything, begins in the South
in the San Pedro square, centre of Mozarabic Huesca (Mozarabs were Christians
owing allegiance to a Moorish king). Its church, the oldest in the city,
was raised on the foundations of a previous Roman temple which was followed
by a Visigoth structure, church to the Mozarabs during the Moorish occupation.
The present San Pedro el Viejo church was built after the Christian
reconquest and nowadays represents Huesca's most outstanding example of
the Aragonese Romanesque. The square was an old cemetery belonging to
the church, and from the 17th century on, a market. To this day it keeps
its motley shape, surrounded by that special atmosphere, somewhere between
warm, friendly and languid which characterises many of the spaces to be
found in the old town.
Behind it, along Zalmedina street, age-old
site of the old Casa de la Primicia or store-house for the crops
tithed to the chapter, there lies another space, the Moneda square,
consisting of the meeting point between the Desengaño and Peligros
streets. It contained until recently the remains of the old estate of
the Temple military order, enclosed within its own fortifications
and also origin of a large urban fabric made up of "poblaciones"
of medieval settlements of which only memories remain today.
Further North, the Latre square
leads on to the Templarios street, forming a still unpaved enclosure
evoking a rural atmosphere, despite being a space which is perfectly integrated
in an urban tour. One can more on from there to the neighbouring Fueros
square. On a gentle scale and recently rebuilt, its buildings offer a
heterogeneous image although they are unified by the same reserved mood.
To the North, the Urriés square, where the Esmir and Urriés
palaces stood, is a space which has changed in scale with its recent new
Further South is the Arista square
with the Azara house, offering a tidy image, surrounded by visually
buildings with well-arranged openings and structure. lts slope leads one
onwards to the next square, the López Allué, a regular and ordered
square and a true reflection of 19th century architecture, ending the
line of squares on the South side of the old town.
The square is rectangular in layout, surrounded
by buildings with porticoes and an appearance of stable composure, strengthened
by the placing of its balconies and unified by their uniform bearing.
They are well-proportioned buildings, with regular openings and uniform
cornices, the colouring of which contributes to the character of the space
they overlook. The present-day square was the result of a new design for
the old Aulas square.
The project initiated the 19th century
reforms of the city and included the new market in its central space,
also forming the urban centre which would later have to be linked up with
the Porches de Galicia and the Navarra square.
In the Northern part of the walled city,
the Lizana square fnrms a widened slope towards the Coso; its remodelling
dates from the 17th century, when the block of houses that made up the
site were demolished. The square is much changed in its buildings, although
it still maintains the same proportions. After crossing Costanilla
del Suspiro street, one reaches San Bernardo square, right
in the heart of the old university area, where the now-demolished Cistercían
school of San Bernardo was established. It is a rectangular space, much
reconstructed, which suffers from the visual impact of the new buildings.
San Bernardo street links the eponymous square with San Juan de la
Peña square. The square has buildings of diverse sizes, allowing one
to make out the remains of the old Zuda palace, and serves as entrance
to the Universidad square, at the limits of the North-South axis,
overlooked by the Santa Cruz seminary with its old church, the
Huesca University College and the notable University building,
now converted into the Provincial Museum.
This completes the tour round the minor
squares in the walled city which are characteristic of the city's urban
image. It is a discontinunus environnlent, diverse in scale but unified
by the same visual mood, truly representative of the essence of Huesca.