Municipalities and Villages in Sobrarbe
Web of Valle de Chistau District: www.elvalledechistau.com
o Inhabitants: 158
o Height above sea level: 1422m
o Name of its inhabitants: chistavino
o Local Holidays: 30th June and 20th August
o Monuments: Museum of Wood Carving.
Situated in the middle of the valley named after this village, it is a beautiful village with impressive views over the valley. Houses are perched on the east side of the Igüerre summit, looking towards the Cinqueta River. In 1982, the torrents flooded the fields and some houses near the built-up area. The village is settled on a slope, with three towers, two of them are white, and the biggest one of them was built with masonry and has loopholes.
The name of the village has a pre-Indoeuropean origin. Gistaín, in the past, was named Chistau and Chistén. In the Visigoth period, currency was coined here. Gistaín, Plan, San Juan de Plan, Saravillo and Serveto constituted la Bal de Chistau in 1295.
The country house of Hospital, also known as Venta de Hospitales, also depends on the town council of Gistaín.
In the lower part of the village, we find a tower serving for military purposes, which seems to be the 17th century Tardán tower. The 17th century tower is isolated, with square plan and four-pitched roof. It is 6m high on each side. There are six floors, all of them made of masonry, but for the edges. It has many loopholes and narrow linteled windows. During the same period, the other tower was also built.
We can also visit some 16th century manor houses, with Gothic mouldings and coats of arms of bas-relief, where we can read the date of the building. One of them dated 1565, and another one dated 1577. The third tower belongs to the 18th century St. Vincent Ferrer church, of popular style, with a tower of Romanesque style.
In the past, some cobalt mines were exploited, and the material was exported to France.
Traditions have been firmly preserved. The traditional costume is completely preserved, and the folk dances are performed in "La rosca" or "La chigoleta". Their own vernacular is still spoken in this village, known as chistabín or xistabín.
The Festivity season of Chistén, as well as in other villages in this valley, has its own traditions, very different from the celebrations held in the villages of the plain, and due to the isolation of this valley, they have been preserved until the present time.
St. Joachim is the major festivity or "festa gran", and St. Peter is honoured during the festivity of the curd cheese. Carnivals are the closure of the festivity season, though there are many festivities held around the whole year.