Castillo de San Pedro de Jaca (Ciudadela)

Avda. Primer Viernes de Mayo s/n (Ciudadela) 22.100 - Jaca (Huesca)

Cultural Visit

The Castle of San Pedro, popularly known as the Citadel of Jaca, is the best preserved pentagonal fortification of S. XVI in Europe. Ordered by King Philip II, the first stone was laid in 1592, following the plans of the military engineer Tiburcio Spanoqui, born in Siena (Tuscany), but under the service of the King of Spain. This fortification was raised to defend and control the main route of penetration from France thrugh the central Pyrenees, in order to prevent attacks by French Huguenots, who were the Protestants fighting in that in country against the Catholic power. We are in the strategic pass of the river Aragon, easily accessible most of the year. For this reason, while the Citadel was being built, the castle of Canfranc and the towers of Espelunca (Aragon valley) and Santa Elena (Tena valley) were being erected and strengthened. Jaca would be the central point of the defense and logistical supply of the Pyrenean valleys of Ansó, Echo, Aragon and Tena.

The Citadel of Jaca was built to be adapted to the effective use of artillery, both defensively and offensively. Its perfectly regular plan is formed by straight lines and by angles that allow to line the weapons for a better defense. These angles are also designed to hinder the enemy’s attack. Gunpowder and the rapid evolution of artillery changed the construction of defenses. From the minds of military engineers and mathematicians like Sangallo, Vitelli, Francesco de Marchi, Niccolo Tartaglia, Pedro Luis Escrivá and, of course, Spanoqui came out geometric forms seeking defensive perfection and the pentagonal shape was the best option. Thus the citadel rose with five bastions, its main feature.

A fortification of these formidable characteristics responded to the need to firmly defend a strategic territory. At the same time, this type of fortress needed a plain from which to obtain resources and with which to defend. Jaca was the ideal location because it is located on a plain in the Aragon Valley: from this strategic position you could obtain resources, control the passes and provide great resistance.

The Citadel is an outstanding example of he Spanish military heritage because of the excellent condition of its main elements. Since the castle has been always occupied and used as barracks, and since the military have assumed the commitment of their care and permanent improvement, the fortress preserves today its original structure and facilities. In this sense, in 1985 it was awarded the Europa Nostra prize by the European Commission. Thus, in the castle have been preserved the five bastions and ten casemates, the barracks, the moat, the drawbridge, the cover parapet walk, etc. The glacis now offers a large space with soft slope of lawn for recreational uses.

Schedule

Castle schedule:

January-March: 

  • Morning: from 10:30 to 13:30.
  • Afternoon: from 15:30 to 19:30.
  • January 1: closed.

April-June:

  • Morning: from 10:30 to 13:30. 
  • Afternoon: from 16:00 to 20:00.
  • April 4: from 17:00 to 20:00. 
  • June 24, 26, 27, 28 and 29:  from 10:30 to 13:30.
  • May 3 and June 25: closed. 

July:

  • From1 to 26:
    • Morning: from 10:30 to13:30.
    • Afternoon: from 16:30 to 20:30.
  • From 27 to 31: from 10:30 to 20:30.

August:

  • From 10:30 to 20:30. 

September:

  • Morning: from10:30 to 13:30. 
  • Afternoon: from 16:00 to 20:00. 
  • September 1: from 10:30 to 20:30. 

October:

  • From 1 to 13: 
    • Morning: from 10:30 to13:30.
    • Afternoon: from 16:00 to 20:00.
  • From 14 to 31: 
    • Morning: from 10:30 to 13:30. 
    • Afternoon: from 15:30 to 19:30. 

November: 

  • Morning: from 10:30 to 13:30. 
  • Afternoon: from 15:30 to 19:30. 

December: 

  • Morning: from 10:30 to 13:30.
  • Afternoon: from 15:30 to 19:30. 
  • Day 8: from 15:30 to 19:30. 
  • Days 24, 25 y 31: closed. 

IMPORTANT! Sunday December 8, 2019, during the official ceremony celebrating the patron saint Infantry, the castle will remain closed to the public throughout the morning. Regular schedule in the afternoon, from 15:30 to 19:30 hours will resume.

Guided tours: every day of opening of the castle in the following times: 11:30, 16:00 and 17:30. 

Closed: January 1, May 3, June 25, December 24, 25 and 31.

Location

Address:

Avda. Primer Viernes de Mayo s/n (Ciudadela) 22.100 - Jaca (Huesca)

 

How to get there:

It is located in the city centre. 

 

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