The restoration works of the arches of the cloister of San Juan de la Peña have been completed

The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Aragon has invested approximately 72,000 euros in the restoration works of the arches of the cloister of San Juan de la Peña, which has just been completed after four months of intervention.

In this way, the regional executive reaffirms its commitment to the recovery of the royal pantheons of Aragon, around which it wants to create a tourist route to enhance them, they have indicated to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.

The intervention focused on the recovery and conservation of the stone complex. On the one hand, it consisted in removing the superimposed materials which harmed, hid or disfigured the surface of the arches; and on the other hand, in the restoration of the ideal physical characteristics of the materials, through techniques and treatments that have ensured consolidation, adhesion and fixation to ensure their permanence in the future.

Thus, once the necessary auxiliary means had been installed, the work began with the mechanical removal of the cement grout, the punctual removal of the soluble salts, the debiotization, the superficial cleaning of the entire surface of the stone and the repetition of the tests. and cleaning and consolidation tests experienced in the project phase. Several samples were also extracted for analysis.

The consolidation, after the corresponding tests, was carried out with lime water and the cleaning, always very punctual and controlled, was carried out with laser technology.

All this has been completed by a work of sealing the edges of the interstices, scales and displacements in serious danger of detachment, and filling of the joints, cracks and crevices, in order to avoid the entry of water as much as possible, either by capillarity , or by well. by condensation in the heart of the stone.


The upper protection of the wooden vault was dismantled and its restoration was carried out, which consisted of cleaning, disinsection, consolidation, application of grafts, final protection and subsequent assembly in its original location, in correcting the deformation that allowed the entry of water in certain points of the stone support.

The action in the archery complex was completed by the specific intervention of cleaning and consolidation of four capitals preserved in the museum and coming from the cloister itself.

These works have been accompanied by a documentation process, as well as material studies and tests, which will serve to maintain and preserve this property belonging to the Government of Aragon. In addition, a poster and a video with images of the whole process were also created.

This intervention was financed by the European funds of the next generation of the EU, of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Spanish government, in the framework of which they are part.

Due to its location in the open air and, therefore, its exposure to the climatic conditions of the region and the natural aging of the stone support, the cloister was in an uneven state of conservation – the north gallery being the most degraded. -.

In 2019, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Aragon already intervened urgently in 18 capitals of this monastery, Property of Cultural Interest (BIC). Previously, it had undergone two major restorations during the 20th century, one in 1934 and another in 1999.

Monastery of San Juan de la Pena

San Juan de la Peña is one of the most emblematic monasteries in Aragon, built in successive phases from a pre-Romanesque nucleus from the beginning of the 10th century, which could have served as a refuge for hermits or housed a small monastic community . The so-called low church, dug into the rock and decorated with Romanesque murals, has been preserved from this period.

As early as the 11th century, a moment of splendor for the monastery after coming under the Cluniac order, they seem to be the extension of the naves of the lower church, as well as the construction of the so-called council hall and the royal necropolis, where some of the first Aragonese monarchs were buried.

This monument, whose walls have been considered by tradition as a witness to the origins of the Kingdom of Aragon, was a regular stop on the French route of the Camino de Santiago and a place of legends, among which the one that connects this region to the Holy Grail stands out. .

Specifically, the cloister, due to its great historical and artistic interest, has been one of the most studied spaces of the monastery and has been the subject of numerous publications and intense historiographical debate.

The currently most accepted option is that a first phase was carried out at the beginning of the 12th century, the work of an unidentified master or workshop, which would be the author of the capitals with intertwined vegetable representations and d fantastic animals facing each other.

A second phase from the end of the 12th century (or even the beginning of the 13th century), which would correspond to the so-called Master of Agüero or San Juan de la Peña, whose workshop comes from the capitals characterized by the presence of figures expressive with almond-shaped, bulging eyes and clothes with very marked folds crossing large concentric incisions.

Likewise, in these capitals there is a series of themes and iconographic details that are repeated in the prolific work of this workshop, distributed in the western part of the province of Huesca, the Cinco Villas of Zaragoza and even Navarre, which define his artistic personality. .

It is a Romanesque cloister with a rectangular plan of about 16 x 10 meters on each side, which currently only retains the arcades on two of its facades -the north and the west–, while the other two arcades have disappeared almost in their entirety after the mentioned fire, being now the place where some capitals, shafts and bases are recovered and placed arbitrarily.

royal pantheons

The actions in San Juan de la Peña are part of the support policy that the Government of Aragon is carrying out for the recovery of the royal pantheons of the autonomous community, around which they want to create a tourist route that enhances these heritage enclaves.

Since 2016, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports has invested two million euros in the royal pantheons, which will increase to 4.9 million euros at the end of the legislature and the actions carried out in Sijena San Juan de la Peña, and San Victorián, as well as the important works carried out in San Pedro el Viejo.

To these are added the 1.2 million euros that the Ministry of Culture will allocate to the consolidation and rehabilitation of the castle of Montearagón, in Huesca.


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