Municipalities and Villages in Sobrarbe
o Inhabitants: 338. The whole municipality counts 506 inhabitants.
o Height above sea level: 1026m.
o Name of its inhabitants: belsetanos
o Local Holidays: 3rd March and 18th August
o Monuments: 15th century church, the Main Square, Renaissance Town Hall, Ethnologic Museum. Just a few kilometres far away from Pineta Valley, where we can find Virgen de Pineta Hermitage. Surrounded by tourist interesting landscapes, which are beautiful and offering the possibility to practice many extreme sports. Famous carnivals and possibility to hear belsetán, the vernacular language of the region.
The following villages belong to its municipality: Chisagüés, Espierba, Javierre de Bielsa, Parzán and Salinas de Bielsa.
Town in the province of Huesca, located at the confluence of the Barrosa and Cinca Rivers. The town gathers around the Main Square, where we find the Town Hall and its outstanding Renaissance facade. Inside, we can visit the Bielsa Ethnologic Museum.
Carnivals are held in February during three days. Young people get dressed up as trangas, in ram furs and horns, ringing a bell and brandish a big stick, called tranga, in order to scare children with an evil smile made up with teeth of potatoes. Women dress in white and cover their faces. They wear a short skirt, and some of them wear casings, with silk headscarves tied up with ribbons. Other traditional costumes are the amontato and the caballet, depicting a man on an old lady and on a horse, respectively.
This is not a stop-by place, but a departure point for several routes around the Pineta and Barrosa Valleys, to admire the great beauty of their mountains.
Bielsa-Aragnouet tunnel, linking Spain with France, is 7.5m wide and 3070m long. The height above sea level on the Spanish side is 1676m, and on the French side is 1827m. It was opened on 19th October 1968, and it meant an important opening, not only geographical, but also economical, for this village and its whole county.
We have to distinguish two periods in its history. Before and after the Spanish Civil War in 1936. In June 1938, the "Bolsa de Bielsa Battle" took place at the valley where the Cinca and Cinqueta Rivers spring. This episode became very well known, since it was the place where the 43rd division of the Republican Army was trapped. Civilians were evacuated towards France through the Old Pass, houses all over the valley were burnt and the cattle was stolen. Bielsa was completely destroyed. Only some ruins were left. However, after the war, its inhabitants came back and rebuilt the town. The restoration was very expensive, specially the reconstruction of the 16th century Aragonese-Renaissance style Town Hall. It is a fine building which stands up on five Roman arches that constitute a porch. The facade is decorated with a magnificent plateresque large window in the middle, and a small flying French window on one of its corners, like a pulpit. Bielsa Town Hall is reproduced in the Pueblo Español in Barcelona.
The church is devoted to the Assumption of our Virgin Mary, and it was rebuilt between 1610 and 1940. It resembles a cathedral, because of its size. It boasts three naves supported by slender columns. Formerly, it was a collegiate church. The original 15th century building was modified at the beginning of 17th century. Later, damages caused by the fire in 1938 should be repaired.
Besides the wealth provided by the water, we can find the remains of some iron and silver mines. These minerals were carried to France over the Salcorz Pass, 2464m high above sea level, hanging from an aerial cable.
In the outskirts, we find interesting manor houses, such as Garrot's, La Plañera, Molino de Pedro Lerín, Masía de Baquer and Acirón.