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Sos del Rey Católico - Royal Monastery of San Juan de la Pena - Jaca - Castillo de Loarre

Price: 98.00 EUR
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Countries: Spain
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Route: Zaragoza - Sos del Rey Católico - Royal Monastery of San Juan de la Pena - Jaca - Castillo de Loarre - Zaragoza
Duration: 12 h
Our first stop in the tour will be at Sos del Rey Católico. There is an interpretation in which ‘SOS’ would refer to the initials of “Sancti Oppidum Stephani”, which means, the villa of Saint Estephen. Although historically the locality has always been called “Sos”, at the beginning of the 20th century, the City Council asked the Crown to be called Sos del Rey Católico (Sos of the Catholic King) to remember Ferdinand II of Aragón, who was born in that villa, to which King Alfonso XIII agreed in 1925. For being a border villa between the neighbours of Navarra and Aragón, Sos had a fortified castle to strengthen the defensive line. It is on top of the Feliciana crag, the highest part of the locality, which made the defence of the square easier. There are no remains of the original wood castle. As construction techniques evolved, wood was replaced by stone and, at the moment, the most noteworthy remains of the castle of the 12th century that have been preserved are in the renovated Keep. The locality also has the Casa de la Villa, where the current town council is, a building in the Renaissance style that was built by the council of Sos at the end of the 16th century.The next stop will be at Royal Monastery of San Juan de la Pena which is a tucked away high up in the Pyrenees, San Juan de la Peña ranks among the most important religious sites in the region of Aragon thanks to centuries of royal pilgrimages, paired with legendary tales linking it with Christianity's most coveted treasure: the Holy Grail. Constructed in two sections – the first portion in 920 CE, followed by the lower cloister in 1190 CE – San Juan de Peña has remained one of the safest, most secure places to store booty of any sort for well over a thousand years. This is due, in no small part, to the cliffside the building was built directly into, which lent the site its name ("Saint John of the Cliff"). The legends that spread about this highly fortified, extremely inconvenient cloister are rich and ancient. More famously, a story holds that a Roman soldier acquired what is claimed to be the much sought-after Holy Grail at some point during the 3rd century AD. After transporting this most coveted relic back to his home in Huesca, a Moorish invasion caused the cup to be transferred to San Juan de la Peña where it would be safe from marauders. Our next stop will be at Jaca which is known as the "pearl of the Pyrenees". It is a cosmopolitan European city, and an important stop along the "Camino de Santiago", the Pilgrim's Road to Santiago de Compostela. In Jaca we must visit the "Ciudadela" (citadel), a great example of 16th-century military architecture, which was declared a National Monument. Construction work for the citadel began in 1592. We find in Jaca many other remarkable buildings, such as the Romanesque cathedral (11th century), declared a National Monument; the monastery of the Benedictines; the church of Santiago; the hermitage of Sarsa; the bridge of San Miguel; the 15th-century Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower), and the City Hall. The pilgrimage of Santa Orosia, famous all across Europe, takes place in Jaca on the 25th of June, and in Yebra de Basa on the 25th of July. During these pilgrimages, some of the most ancient dances in the Pyrenees are staged, to the sound of sacred and ancient instruments like a primitive flute with three holes, and the string psaltery. Our last stop will be at Castillo de Loarre.This large, multi-towered, 11th-century fortress, raised in Christian/Muslim frontier territory by Sancho III of Navarra and then expanded by Sancho Ramírez of Aragón, broods like a crusader castle above broad plains and is one of Aragón's biggest tourist attractions. There's plenty to see, including a Romanesque chapel and crypt, and you can climb to the upper levels of the two main towers. It is considered to be the most important Romanesque fortress in Spain. It has an irregular floor plan and a double wall with cylindrical towers. The 12th-century Romanesque church of Santa María is on the interior, and has three naves and a barrel vault. It has capitals decorated with Roman iconography. It was first a royal residence, and later an Augustinian monastery.After we will return to Zaragoza.
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