Follow the footprint of man in Guara from Prehistory enjoying the architectural rock beauty
In addition to the exceptional natural heritage of Guara’s Natural Park, there is also a rich historical heritage. Starting with the life of prehistoric man—the legacy of megalithic monuments and cave paintings (World Heritage)—, the entire Guara Park provides visitors with the opportunity to observe the passage of time. Sights range from tiny fossils in the Sierra de Sevil to beautiful Romanesque and baroque structures, such as those found in Alquézar, one of Spain’s most beautiful villages.
Here at Hostería de Guara, we will help you to organize your trip, regardless of whether you prefer to use a guide or do things your own way. We’ll help you to best discover the most interesting and typical spots. We recommend that you organize your visits by areas. This is because most of the heritage sites are located in areas where you will need to hike in order to visit them. In this section, we suggest several artistic representations that can be found in the area.
Cave Art: World Heritage
Even though they are not the only ones, the most well-known artistic representations of prehistory found in our territory are the River Vero cave paintings. There is an Interpretive Centre for visitors where most guided tours to the rock shelters begin. Workshops and activities for children are also held at the Centre. In terms of prehistoric remains, there are also megalithic structures in Ibirque, a well-preserved dolmen in the north of the Sierra, and the Losa Mora Dolmen on the way to Otín from Rodellar.
Here are the shelters with cave paintings that we recommend visiting. For guided tours, check out Arpán, Mallata and Barfaluy. For self-guided visits, you can go to the Chimiachas and Regacens shelters.
To help you organize your trip, the following link contains the calendar and visiting hours for the shelters, as well as the activities offered by the Interpretive Centre.
Over 22 thousand years ago, prehistoric man chose the shelters of the Cañones de Guara to portray his life in the form of art on the walls. Paleolithic hunters, neolithic farmers, as well as inhabitants during the Bronze Age all left their mark here. This is why all of the classic styles of European prehistory can be found in Guara: Paleolithic Art, Levantine Art, and Iberian Schematic Art. The vertical walls of the River Vero canyon have the most representations in our territory.
In 1998, UNESCO listed them as World Heritage sites. They form part of the European Cultural Route “Prehistoric Rock Art Trails”.
You will find below some links to hiking routes to visit these shelters.
Alquézar is certainly another one of Guara’s historical gems. It is located only 15 km away from the hotel, making it ideal for you to spend a day taking in its beauty and then return to the hotel to rest.
Alquézar: Historic Site
The Collegiate Church of Santa María la Mayor (Castillo colegiata de Santa María la Mayor) rises among the thick walls of the Vero canyon. Located at its base, you will find the small labyrinthine medieval settlement of Alquézar. This is a monumental town declared by Spain as a Historic-Artistic Site in 1982, and one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain and on Earth.
Rocks, water, history, art and legend can be found in Alquézar. These features make it a surprising, unique and unexpected place. It is possible to go back in time here as you stroll through the streets.
In Alquézar, we can relive the splendour of the 16th century and the Mudejar legacy.
The following link can help you find out more about the town of Alquézar in order to prepare your visit.
Continuing with the tour of the Sierra’s heritage, it is worth mentioning the various representations of linear Gothic-style mural paintings. This type of art is rare in our country. In Guara, there are three temples with paintings from this period: San Miguel de Barluenga, San Miguel de Foces and San Fructuoso de Bierge (located just a few metres away from the hotel and possible to visit). You can find more interesting information by following this link:
In this tour of the Natural Park, where art and nature go hand in hand, we must point out the Romanesque chapel of San Andrés de Nasarre. You will find it along your route through the deserted villages of Otín and Nasarre when leaving Rodellar.
Leaving the Natural Park and heading into the Somontano of Barbastro, it is essential to highlight various artistic representations from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
An important part of the Sierra’s historical heritage has to do with its hydraulic engineering and architecture. This is another example of the legacy left behind by the different cultures.
Throughout the territory, we can find fountains, irrigation infrastructure, ancient bridges, and spring wells. Altogether, they bear witness to the coexistence of man and water in this land.
During the final decades of the 20th century, these elements of daily life used by settlers in the Sierra fell into disuse and were subsequently forgotten. However, after years of restoration work, some of them have been recovered.
Washhouses, ice wells, water wells for irrigation, bridges, mills, reservoirs, irrigation ditches, pools to store water for irrigation, and more. They all form part of the Sierra’s landscape and culture.
As we continue with the architectural representations which can be found on our path of discovery through the Sierra de Guara, we must make special mention of the large number of cave shrines scattered throughout the Natural Park. They include the shrines of San Cosme and La Fabana in Vadiello, along with the shrines of San Martin de Morrano, la Virgen del Castillo and San Martin de Lecina.
We can also find ruins of old watchtowers and castles, such as the Castillo de Naya and the Castillo de los Santos.
Another important part of the Sierra’s historical heritage has to do with the unity existing between religious and pagan beliefs. They were passed on for generations in our villages and most of them were lost as people moved away from the area. Nowadays, many of them have been revived. Examples include: the Pig Slaughter Festival (Fiesta de la Matacía) in several villages, All Hallows Eve (La Noche de las Ánimas), small Easter processions, the Crespillo Festival (Fiesta de Crespillo), Candlemas Festival (Candelera), etc.
In Adahuesca, there is an Interpretive Centre with a collection of legends and stories told by our ancestors.
On our blog, we will try to provide more information about our diverse historical heritage.