Church of Santa María de Aínsa

Church of Santa María de Aínsa
Church of Santa María de Aínsa

This temple is part of the Historical-Artistic Ensemble that is the town of Aínsa, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenean mountain range, in the province of Huesca. Today it is simply a parish church, but in the past this temple had the rank of collegiate church.

Its beginnings date back to the late 11th century, although it was not completed until well into the second half of the 12th century, making it a good example of Romanesque architecturethat developed in the north of Spain.

Church of Santa Maria de Ainsa

Church of Santa María de Aínsa

The set draws attention for its sobriety, all of it built in very compact sandstone masonry. Although the passage of time is leaving its traces, and today you can already see part of its oldest stones in reddish tones, the result of the oxidation of centuries of exposure to the sun's rays, while the newer stones keep their original gray colors.

It is a small church with a single rectangular nave and a Latin cross plan crowned by a semicircular apse. Being a construction already from late Romanesque times, its vault is pointed and supported by a continuous corbel. While the head is covered with a quarter sphere vault. In short, both its interior and its exterior are extraordinarily austere.

The cover is located to the south and behind a porch,find the door itself protected by four archivolts resting on columns that lack bases. And on the archivolts appears the typical crismón that can be seen in so many Romanesque constructions in the Pyrenees of Huesca, such as in the Cathedral of Jaca or in the church of Santa Cruz de la Serós.

On this cover the eaves are supported by 11 corbels or modillions, as sober as the rest of the set.

Originally the church had two chapels attached to the nave on its side of the Epistle, however, they disappeared after a restoration. Also from that side there was access to a hospital through the "Hospital Arch" which is the only thing that remains of these annexed constructions.

On the other hand, the idea of ​​the original underground crypt is preserved, whose irregular surface adapts to the terrain and the shape of the nave and the upper chancel. However, the crypt that we see today is the result of a reconstruction, since the historic one was destroyed during the course of the Spanish Civil War.

The cloister is also preserved, trapezoidal or pentagonal in shape, in short, very irregular due to the terrain. And all of it develops with ogival and semicircular arches. This part is supposed to be after the church, since it was built between the 13th and 14th centuries. And finally, we must highlight the bell tower raised at the foot of the church. It is a tower with a square floor plan and an outstanding height with five floors, so much so that it also fulfilled defensive functions in itstime.

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