Hermitage of "S. Miguel de Foces" (Ibieca)
The imposing mass of Guara presides over the environment of this attractive place, located to 18 kms. from the city of Huesca and 640 m. of altitude, in the widedow-mountain flatness, only altered by the direct succession of soft hills that, of North to South, travel the territory of its municipal term.
It is old its creation, since the remains found in the proximities of San Pedro's ramshackle hermitage, indicate us their Roman assent in the low-imperial time and posteriorly in the Hispanic-Visigothic one. It's cereal land, to which lend greenery the compact groupings of oaks (carrascales), the right alignments of the almond trees, some scattered and stout olive tree, and at the present time, the vineyards.
In the year 1099, Pedro I of Aragon confirmed to the Monastery of Montearagón the donation of the church of Citrana, near village to lbieca -that was uninhabited possibly in the XV century -. Ibieca appears mentioned by first time in the year 1104, in the concord subscribed between the Bishop of Huesca and the Abbot of Montearagón about the churches corresponding to each jurisdiction. In 1259, in the annexed town in that exercised dominion, Ximeno of Foces erected to 2 Km. of distance, the sanctuary dedicated to San Miguel, for family vault -from 1916 artistic Historical Monument - that is a beautiful ashlar building, in which mixes the romanesque style and the Gothic; it has plant of Latin cross of three apses, decorated with abundant reasons of Arab influence and paintings with scenes of the Virgin's life, San Juán and Christ's Crucifixion; it has pointed vault, capitals with vegetable illustration and a beautiful portal; place in which diverse legendary stories are played.
Its facade remembers to the Valencia cathedral one, as it stands out in some studies that have been carried out on this monument. It is known in all the ways that the stonemasons that built it, worked later in the cathedral of Valencia; in fact, the portal of this is a copy (although improved) of that of San Miguel. In 1280 (Pope) San Clemente's church of Ibieca, figured among the members of the "archdeaconship" of the Diocese of Huesca.
The visitors, also will be able to admire beautiful examples of mural decoration that date of the first third of the XIV century (Gothic lineal). The most interesting paintings are those that decorate the tombs of Ximeno of Foces and his son Atho.
In 1389, Ibieca belonged to Miguel of Gurrea, noble family that showed their elegant domain during some time; and in 20 of January of 1440, the King Alfonso V granted Lope Ximénez of Urrea the grouper and mixed empire on the place and the adjacent of Castelnou.
In the census of 1495, was denominated to this place, as " Iviequa ". In 1563, when Ibieca belonged to Juan of Gurrea, for ruin of the previous one, the current parochial temple was built, of Aragonese Gothic style, of ashlar, of a nave with five lateral chapels, choir to the feet, vaults starry, airy embedded tower of square plant and octagonal spire , as well as door of arch of half point framed by ionic columns. Later on it suffered some reformations.
The interesting urban group, with abundance of typical constructions, presents several constructions of the second half of the XVIII century with attractive portals in whose keystones usually figure the date of its construction, drawings geometric or brief salutaciones and in the facades of five of them, the coats of arms of their old possessors: the AIagón, Bescós, Estaún, Giral and Torres.
In May it takes place a party during which goes down to the Virgin, to the hermitage, from the town. In September there is another pilgrimage that makes this same journey in contrary sense. It is preferable to make the visit at dusk.
|San Miguel de Foces
an article by Santiago Broto Aparicio
** Gathered of diverse sources for M. Tomé