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Jaca was the capital of the Kingdom of Aragón and the see of the bishop from 1077 to 1096. The status of Jaca was elevated from villa to civitas (city) when King Sancho Ramírez granted the fuero of Jaca around 1076-1077, and it had since become the political and ecclesiastic center of Aragón, until the nearby city of Huesca - the ancient episcopal see - was retaken from Muslim hands in 1096 (1). Although the see of the bishop was translated back to Huesca upon its recapture, Jaca remained significant into the twelfth century since it lies on one of the major pilgrimage routes of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). In fact, it is one of the very first stops that pilgrims would arrive at once they passed through the Somport Pass across the Pyrenees (2). Moreover, during the years when it was the capital of Aragón, Sancho Ramírez took initiatives to attract foreign, especially French, settlers to this city as a means to repopulate and strengthen his yet-very-new kingdom (3). Jaca must have been quite the international city.

There are two Romanesque sites in our Jaca collection - click either on the map or the list below to explore San Pedro Cathedral (also called Jaca Cathedral) and the sarcophagus of Doña Sancha (now preserved in the Royal Monastery of the Benedictines).

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(1) Doron Bauer, "Social Practices and Romanesque Architectural Sculpture in the Pyrenees" (PhD diss., John Hopkins Universtiy, 2012), 12-13; David L. Simon, "Art for a New Monarchy: Aragon in the Late Eleventh Century," Anales de Historia del Arte Volumen Extraordinario, no. 2 (2011): 368-70.

(2) Annie Shaver-Crandell, Paula Gerson, and Alison Stones, The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela: A Gazetteer (Knightsbridge, London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1995), 205-08, see also the section "Pilgrimage Routes" at 418-20.

(3) Simon, "Art for a New Monarchy," 372-73; Shaver-Crandell, Gerson, and Stones, The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela: A Gazetteer, 205.

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