The Sotonera, plains and pre Pyrenean mountain ranges Aragon. Spain.


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La Sotonera

Coat of arms of La Sotonera

La Sotonera is located in La Hoya de Huesca next to Val de Ayerbe. It is an immense plain marked by hills, bordered by the mountains of Gratal, Caballera and Loarre to the north, crossed by the river Sotn and its tributaries. The ears of wheat and barley that grow everywhere have been secular witnesses of the long history of this region, mythical battlefield between the forces of the early Christian kingdom and the Muslim hosts. Today La Sotonera is a municipality that encompasses Villa de Bolea and the places of Puibolea, Lierta, Anis, Quinzano, Plasencia del Monte and Esquedas.


Villa belonging to the Municipality of La Sotonera, holds its capital. It is located about 19 kilometers north of the city of Huesca by the A-132 road with detour in Esquedas to the A-1206. Its altitude above sea level is 672 meters, since it stands on two prominent hills. Account with 740 inhabitants, according to data of 1990.

The historical written reference older than Bolea we have dates from the tenth century. It was one of the main Muslim strongholds during much of the Middle Ages, as a fortified nucleus of great strategic interest.
The stronghold was called in Arabic Tala and also Buluya .
In the sixteenth century becomes Villa.

Among its rich artistic treasure stands La Colegiata , built between 1535 and 1556, with the magnificent altarpiece of the main altar, attributed to the Painter of the Court Pedro Aponte. The church of Santo Toms and the hermitages of La Trinidad, Mueras and Santa Quiteria are other interesting elements, as well as the remains of the old Muslim fortress.


Next to Bolea, about 15 kilometers from Huesca, stands the small place of Puibolea, with barely 40 inhabitants. It is located 650 meters above sea level, and its name is composed of the prefix "puy", widely used in the Aragonese language to designate high places, making the place name "pueyo" or the verb "puyar" (ascend). Puibolea also treasures Muslim heritages; the most interesting are, without doubt, the gloomy subterranean cellars excavated between the earth and the rock, which open on the same slope where the town sits. The church of the Virgin of Consolation, meanwhile, retains altarpieces of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


The Sierra enters to participate in the landscape of La Sotonera with Lierta, located at 670 meters of altitude under the shadow of the mythical peak of Gratal. It is about 13 kilometers from Huesca, has 75 inhabitants and the clustered set of its buildings offer a typical image, in which the Bodegas de Gratal stand out. A cave in the mountains shelters the hermitage of San Julian.


Next to the highway Huesca-Pamplona, this place of La Sotonera, with 110 inhabitants and an altitude of 530 meters, offers the traveler the rest and the gastronomic enjoyment in the typical restaurant of Venta del Sotn, recognizable from afar by its big chimney of conical shape. The parish church of San Gregorio, in addition to its altarpieces of the eighteenth century, allows to see some paintings that have been attributed by some scholars to the Aragonese painter Francisco de Goya.

Plasencia del Monte

Following the road to meet the Pyrenees by Ayerbe, the traveler can also stop 17 kilometers from Huesca, next to the road, and taste typical Aragonese dishes in any of the two well-known restaurants: El Cobertizo and La Posada. Do not forget to contemplate the curious pyramidal shape of the church tower, and its ancient clock.



The highest place in La Sotonera is Anies, located in the middle of the mountains, at an altitude of 761 meters, and 26 kilometers from Huesca.
To reach it, you have to take a detour by road from Bolea, or by bicycle or on foot along trails from Quinzano, Plasencia or Bolea itself.
In addition to the old parish church, Anis is known for its hermitage of the Virgen de la Pea, practically hanging in the middle of the rocks of the mountains.

© copyright 2000 Chema Gutiérrez Lera


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