Bielsa, the last frontier to France

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Bielsa, the last frontier to France

Located in the Sobrarbe region, in the Central Pyrenees and bordering France, the Bielsa Valley is made up of six villages: Javierre, Espierba, Parzán, Chisagüés, Salinas and Bielsa.

Bielsa, in the northernmost part of the Aragonese Pyrenees, is the entrance to one of the four sectors of the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, the Pineta Valley. If that alone would be a key point in our visit, here are several more reasons why you should seriously consider approaching this impressive valley.

All of these towns mentioned above conserve the typical high mountain construction; houses with stone walls, reddish slate tile roofs and the “espantabrujas” (scarecrows) on the chimneys. Of the old dwellings, it is worth mentioning the hearth as the centerpiece of the house, both for being the place around which life was lived and for its architectural aspect.

Highlights in the town of Bielsa, at the confluence of the Cinca and Barrosa rivers, include the 15th century church, the Renaissance facade of the town hall, and the “Larraga” house, which, like the Town Hall, sits on a portico with arcades.

This is a valley with an enormous mining tradition: it was famous for the iron of Bielsa until the end of the 19th century and lead and silver were exploited until the middle of the 20th century.

The Bielsa Stock Exchange:

During the Civil War, the 43rd Republican Division heroically resisted here the onslaught of the rebel army. He finally withdrew to France via the port. The encirclement and attempted coup of this division, known as “La Bolsa de Bielsa”, is one of the best known and most publicized actions of the Civil War in Aragon.

The population of the entire region was forced to flee across the harbor under very difficult conditions. In the town hall of Bielsa a museum evokes those hard days: the Museum of Bielsa.

Carnivals of Bielsa

In the village of Bielsa, typical and very famous carnivals are held, which are interesting for preserving the archaic characters – trangas, madams, cornelio, bear, the tamer and others.