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24 septiembre 2022

Aínsa: a magical journey back to the Middle Ages

The town of Ainsa is one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. The Plaza Mayor, the magical old town, the castle-fortress or the incredible views of the Pyrenees bathed by the Ara and Cinca rivers, are some of the attractions that make the village a bucolic environment.

The village of Ainsa is considered one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval villages in Spain. Located near the Natural Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido, Ainsa was built in the twelfth century in order to protect the County of Sobrarbe. A beautiful village photograph where the Ara and Cinca rivers meet, surrounded by the imposing Peña Montañesa. Visiting Ainsa is to go back centuries, a journey back in time to the Middle Ages that leaves no one indifferent.

 

Ainsa one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval villages in Spain.
Ainsa (Video: Olga Gudnikova)

Here we tell you the essentials of this town:

The Main Square of Aínsa

One of the best preserved medieval squares in the world. Surrounded by Romanesque-style porches, it is the vital center of the town, treasuring much of the original architectural and historical wealth. Scenario of fairs and markets, whose picturesque tradition is preserved to this day with the Ferieta de Ainsa, and the ExpoFeria del Sobrarbe. Although the most remarkable is the Morisma of Ainsa. A biennial staging that takes place in September and commemorates the reconquest of Aínsa in the 8th century during the reign of Garci Ximenez.

Aínsa
Main square of Aínsa. (Photo: magicospirineos.com)

Historic center of Aínsa

The old part of the town is catalogued as a Historic-Artistic Site. The best option to get to know it is to wander through its stony streets in search of the most hidden places, as well as the curiosities and secrets that they keep inside. In addition, if you are an ethnology lover, Casa Latorre houses the Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts.

Aínsa (Photo: Olga Gudnikova)

Do not forget to visit the Covered Cross, a small temple next to the castle, where the legend tells of the miracle of the appearance of a Cross of Fire on a holm oak. In this way, it is believed that the Christians were victorious against the invasion of the Muslim troops in the reconquest of Ainsa.

Church of Aínsa

Heart of the historic center of Ainsa, it preserves the charm of the medieval village and is part of the Historic-Artistic Ensemble of Ainsa. A monument dating from the late eleventh and mid-twelfth century, this church was built in sandstone masonry, constituting one of the highest expressions of the Romanesque of Alto Aragon. In parts of the interior, such as the cloister, elements of other periods of sober style such as Gothic and Romanesque merge.

Aínsa Church (Photo: Olga Gudnikova)

Castle of Aínsa

To the west of the Plaza Mayor, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and a Historic-Artistic Monument, the Castle-Fortress sits on an ancient Muslim site. It was originally used as a reorganization of the southern border of Sobrarbe and as a fortification against the Muslim dominated territories in the 11th century. Its oldest part is the Torre del Homenaje, built on Arab remains and surrounded by a walled enclosure. Inside you can still see its Romanesque walls, although they date from the seventeenth century.

Aínsa
Castle-Fortress of Ainsa. (Photo: huescalamagia.com)

Every year in July, in the Patio de Armas of the Castle of Ainsa, the International Music Festival Castillo de Ainsa is held, an enhancement of the cultural heritage of Ainsa as well as a unique environment to give free rein to the various musical manifestations. The castle also houses the Eco Museum of Pyrenean Fauna, managed by the Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture, has 12 exhibition areas on Pyrenean biodiversity and a zoo. In addition, during the visit you will have the opportunity to learn about the history and characteristics of the area, its flora and fauna. There is also the Sobrarbe and Pyrenees Geopark information center, where you can get a lot of information about routes and excursions in the area.

Taste the gastronomy of Sobrarbe

It is no secret that the Sobrarbe region lends itself as a unique environment where good food and beautiful scenery come together. This is attested by El Callizo, a restaurant in Ainsa included in the exclusive Michelin guide, highlighted with one of its coveted stars. Located in the heart of the Plaza Mayor, is the renowned Restaurant Bodegón Mallacán, 2 Forks, inside the medieval house of the late eleventh century, declared a Historic-Artistic Monument.

If you are a beer lover, you can not leave Ainsa without tasting the craft beer brewed in La Rondadora. White beer with four malts and four hops, this drink is part of the tradition of the area.

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