It is located in the town of the same name, on a rocky promontory on the slope of the Puchilibro, at an altitude of 1070 metres, in the Loarre mountain range at the entrance to the Pyrenees and dominating the great plain of the Hoya de Huesca and the lands to the south of Huesca. It is a magnificent example of Romanesque civil art. The fact that Roman coins were found near the Loarre Castle has given rise to the idea that it was built on the Roman settlement known as "Calagurris Fibularia". The primitive enclosure was built in the time of Sancho III el Mayor, its position served as a base to control and harass the Muslims of Bolea and Ayerbe, serving as a border outpost. The royal building, the chapel, the Queen's tower, the parade ground, the military and service rooms and the homage tower, which at that time was an exempt or albarrana tower, date from this period. Some time later King Sancho Ramírez extended and adapted it to serve also as a monastic seat, at this time therefore, lords, knights and soldiers live together in the same enclosure, under the protection of the castle but in separate spaces with canonical monks of San Agustín. The crypt is built and then the fantastic church of San Pedro, plus some defences.
The wall was built in the 13th century. With Sancho Ramírez's son, Pedro I of Aragon, Loarre lost its monastic character and when the Muslims were driven out of the area the Loarre Castle lost its military character and was left in the hands of lords and nobles, losing relevance and influence. Later it was entrusted to the Order of San Juan. In the 16th century the inhabitants of the castle moved to the present town of Loarre, which was then called "El Burgo de San Esteban". The stones of the castle walls were used as a quarry in the construction of their new houses. The church was also moved to this new location, leaving the castle completely abandoned. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Castle of Loarre has been a National Monument, and is now considered a Site of Cultural Interest and Aragonese Cultural Heritage.
When visiting Loarre Castle, which begins in the opposite direction to its history, the first thing you see is the newest thing in time, the wall, with its semicircular towers. The main entrance is through a large arch flanked by two towers; the parade ground and the main façade of the castle welcome the visitor. Once past the gate, a large staircase leads up to the castle, passing under the church of San Pedro, which has 101 capitals, one of which is holding up the altar.
On the stairs there are two accesses, on the left to the guard rooms and on the right is the crypt of Santa Quinteria. Continuing, the dependencies of the monastic community and we arrive at the primitive Lombard enclosure where we can admire the tower of the Queen and the chapel of the Lombard castle that is under the invocation of Nuestra Señora de Valverde. The homage tower is one of the best preserved military towers of the 11th century, it is 22 metres high and stands out above all the structures of the castle. When it was located, in the primitive castle, outside the enclosure it was passed from one place to another through a drawbridge that was born in its third floor. Loarre is the Aragonese castle par excellence and is reputed to be the best preserved Romanesque castle in the world. It and its surroundings easily transport the visitor back to medieval times, no doubt helped by its good state of conservation, without forgetting that the cinematographic images filmed there have also done their bit.
According to some historians Loarre could be the Calagurris Fibulariensis, whose inhabitants offered Julius Caesar their support, with men and food, in his fight against General Afranius' Pompeians, who were finally defeated in the battle of Lerida in 49 BC. It is also said that this Calagurris Fibulariensis, not to be confused with the Calagurris Nassica, which is the current Calahorra of La Rioja, was the residence of Bishop Jenaro who, with the title of Fibularia, attended the Council of Elvira in the early years of the 4th century.
Today in the church of San Esteban, in the village of Loarre, a real treasure of the castle is kept. There are two beautiful Romanesque carvings, one of the Virgin of Loarre and the other of San Pedro, the owner of its main church and two gilded copper plate chests from the end of the 11th century with the relics of San Demetrio.
Legend has it that the Visigoth King Don Rodrigo fell in love with the beautiful daughter of Count Don Julián and asked to see her, so the Count, ready to satisfy the King's wishes, sent her to the castle without suspecting that he would end up raping her. Faced with this infamous fact and in revenge for it, the count facilitated the entry of the Muslims into Spain. The Count died as a prisoner and subject of strong chains in the castle of Loarre and was buried at the entrance of the church for everyone to trample on his tomb, as a traitor. And the legend goes on to say that every Tuesday the maid of Loarre, who is none other than the sad daughter of the count, walks around the battlements at midnight. Centuries later, it is said, several men who were digging in the castle in search of treasure? found the bones of a corpse, a sword and a parchment in a grave, which no one could read because it turned to dust.
To get to Castle of Loarre we have to follow the A-1206 road that joins the towns of Bolea, Ayerbe and Esquedas, the latter two on the A-132 road that connects Huesca with Puente la Reina de Jaca and Pamplona.
Shortly after passing through the town of Loarre, as we arrived from Ayerbe, or just before reaching Loarre if we do it from Bolea, we will find the detour that we must follow. A zigzagging road that ascends to the castle, in whose surroundings we will have several parking areas where we can leave our vehicle and access on foot to the entrance of the fortification.
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