On the middle course of the Gállego River and at the foot of the pre-Pyrenean mountains of Loarre and Luna and the reservoir of La Sotonera, Ayerbe is located under the protection of a fortress that is documented as a castle in the "Crónica de al-Razí" in the 10th century. Little is known about the primitive settlements, although tombstones and coins have been found from the Roman period, being the first historical record of the area. The remains of the Arab castle that crowns the top of the hill of San Miguel are from the tenth century. The origin of Ayerbe can be found in the military settlements that dominated the road from the Pyrenees to Zaragoza and in the Muslim and Christian garrisons that they watchedeach other.
When the place was reconquered by Sancho Ramírez in 1083, it became important again as a step on the way to the Pyrenees. Ayerbe was from the beginning a royal village that would later also become a barony when the King of Aragon Jaime I left to his son Pedro, also Baron of Grañén, Robres and Arnueso, the castle and town of Ayerbe. Some time later it became the property of Pedro Jordán de Urriés in 1366, also by donation made to him by Pedro IV of Aragon. In the 18th century King Felipe V granted the town the titles of noble and most loyal, for the help given in the War of Succession. Ayerbe suffered closely the Wars of Independence, the Carlist and the Civil wars. The arrival of the railway at the end of the 19th century and the subsequent closure of the Canfranc International Railway Station meant a serious socio-economic upheaval for the town of Ayerbe, which the municipality is currently trying to remedy and reconvert.
When the visitor enters Ayerbe he sees how the tower of San Pedro stands out from the town centre. This tower was built in the 12th century and belonged to the old Romanesque collegiate church of San Pedro, which was demolished in the 19th century due to its ruin; it is very close to one of its two square squares, the upper and lower ones, which are the centre of the social life of the people of Ayerbe, and they are also configured around the palace of the Marquises of Ayerbe or Urriés, which dates from the end of the 15th and beginning of the 17th century. Separating these two squares is the Clock Tower which was built, with materials from the old church of Nuestra Señora de Soterrado to house the town hall clock, at the end of the 18th century. Walking through its streets we are surprised by the parish church of San Pedro which was an old Dominican convent built between 1543 and 1548, the building was reformed between the 17th and 18th centuries and became a parish church in the middle of the 19th century, the temple has a curious front that resembles an altarpiece. The old town hall, which was also the seat of justice, or the fountain D'os tres caños from the 18th century; the palace of the Luna family, which is a good example of Aragonese Renaissance architecture and the house where Ramón y Cajal lived, which today is the Interpretation Centre on the scientist.
Ayerbe also had a hospital during the 12th to 16th centuries, a building that today is known as the Old or Poor Hospital. Protecting the town of Ayerbe seems to be the mountain of San Miguel and above it the hermitage of the same name, restored over the remains of the old hermitage that was built near the 10th century Muslim castle whose remains can be seen in the area known as Os Muros. In the vicinity of the village, about three kilometres away, is the 18th century hermitage of the Virgen de Casbas, where Roman tombstones have been found. The Santa Lucía hermitage is from the twelfth century and the San Pablo Apóstol hermitage, which according to some documents of the brotherhood and hermitage date from 1618. A visit to the town of Ayerbe is not complete until you enjoy its culinary and gastronomic art or participate in its cultural events, fairs and markets.
Ayerbe celebrates its patron saint's day in honour of Santa Leticia on 9 September. On the first Sunday in June there is a pilgrimage to the hermitage of the Virgin of Casbas. The last Sunday in January is the celebration in honour of the apostle San Pablo.
In Ayerbe, on the last day of the Grand Festivity in honour of Santa Leticia, the people gather in the squares and streets, light a good fire and with the meat, potatoes, and the pertinent seasonings, as well as a good pearlop where they cook it, they prepare themselves to eat a traditional stew, with which they say goodbye to the festivity until next year. As the town fills up with this rich aroma, the bustle of the people mixes with the music of the charanga while waiting to taste such a precious delicacy, then the streets will also become an immense dining room. Then at midnight, after having taken good care of the food and having put out the bonfires, it is the awaited cornicabra bulls, bulls of fire in which the frame that carries the load of pyrotechnics receives the name of carnicabra, that will cross the streets.
In Ayerbe there was an earlier harvest that took place in September where the first ripe and ready grapes were picked to make the first wine of the year that was then sold at the famous Ayerbe fair. In many houses, wine was sold throughout the year and, in order to make it known that there was wine for sale, a branch of ivy was placed in the window. The wine was sold by the litre and not as it was done in the old fashioned way, which was sold by cantaros
Legend has it that the people of ayerbenses, although they already had a clock and a bell that sang the hours since 1563, wanted to build a tower in front of the palace of the marquises and that it should be higher than the palace itself.
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To get to Ayerbe we can do so by following the A-132 road that from Huesca passes through the town on the way to Puente la Reina de Jaca on the N-240 between Jaca and Pamplona. You can also reach Ayerbe from Ejea de los Caballeros on the A-125, from Loarre and Bolea on the A-1206 and from Sádaba passing through Uncastillo and Santa Eulalia de Gállego on the A-1202.
Ayerbe has a bus service that connects it with Huesca from Monday to Friday at different times. For more information, the e-mail address is: email@example.com and the telephone number is 912 722 832
The regional railway line covering the Zaragoza-Jaca-Canfranc route arrives in Ayerbe. The Renfe station is located in Avda. de Loarre s/n and the telephone number for further information is 974 380 416
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