Jaca (altitude 820 m and population 14,000 inhabitants), is the capital of the Jacetania area, an historic territory that occupies the north-western corner of the Autonomous Region of Aragón, on the border with France. Recently, it has become an important Pyrenean tourism and winter sports centre, but it also maintains a rich monumental heritage, that reflects the relevance of its 2,000-year history.
Its cathedral is one of the first Romanesque cathedrals in the country (11th century), built in order to consolidate the town’s reputation as a strategic point on the Santiago Pilgrimage Route. In addition to this, it was chosen to be the first capital of the ancient Kingdom of Aragón by the king Sancho Ramirez (1077). Its frontier location led to the consolidation of its role over the centuries as a defensive buffer, and this in turn left an evident architectural legacy. The citadel, an exceptional pentagonal fortress dating from the 16th century, is a primary example of this.
Jaca’s strategic situation, in the centre of the Pyrenees and 30 km away from the border with France, has given it a special character. Its history is intense and relevant. Jaca has been the protagonist of decisive episodes and a privileged witness of important international events. Its streets, squares and buildings are steeped in history. Its old town centre is one of the most attractive and best restored in Aragon and includes a long and impressive list of buildings of special architectural interest. All architectural styles and periods are visible – the Town Hall, the Benedictine Convent, the Rapitán Fort, the Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj) and a route around the Modernist buildings are just a few examples. Its municipal area (made up of 33 villages) includes the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña (10th century), cradle of the ancient Kingdom of Aragón. A walk around the city and its surroundings is like a walk through history.
Past and present merge in Jaca. At present it is a dynamic city based on the services industry and almost entirely dedicated to tourism. Its proximity to the ski resorts of Astun and Candanchu, the formidable mountain landscape, the Santiago Pilgrimage Route, the Ice Rink and its important services sector have strengthened its historic claim as the unchallenged “capital of the Pyrenees”. In recent years the town has expanded significantly and has renewed its utilities network and infrastructures in order to consolidate its key position in the tourism industry.
Other villages in the municipality: Abay - Abena - Ara - Araguás del Solano - Ascara - Asieso - Atarés - Badaguás - Banaguás - Baraguás - Barós - Bernués - Bescós de la Garcipollera - Binué - Botaya - Caniás - Espuéndolas - Fraginal - Gracionépel - Guasa - Guasillo - Ipas - Jarlata - Lastiesas Altas - Lastiesas Bajas - Lerés - Martillué - Navasa - Navasilla - Novés - Orante - Osia - Puerto Astún - Ulle - Villanovilla