Santuario de Torreciudad
The Virgin of Torreciudad is a Romanic wood sculpture (XI century) from a series of black Virgins sitting with the child in arms and facing forward. It has been exhibited in a hermitage on the edge of a drop-off next to the Cinca river forever. Our lady of Los Angeles is who people come here worship. It has a strong influence over the people in the neighboring villages, The Ribagorza, and Somontano who religiously organize pilgrimages and hikes to visit it.
In 1904, two-year-old Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was carried here by his mother on a pilgrimage: He had suffered a serious illness, so his parents brought him here to ask the Virgen of Torreciudad for a cure. In appreciation he was taken from Barbastro to Torreciudad on horse-back.
From the 60´s Escrivá de Balaguer decided to build a new sanctuary in appreciation the the Virgen. Inaugurated on 7 July, 1975, it was built by the Opus Dei numerary architect Heliodoro Dols between 1970 and 1975 just a few yards from the hermitage. It has a very personal style and creates a variety of shapes and forms with the most basic building block: the brick! Alabastar is found in abundance, especially in windows and corners. Both these materials are traditional in this region. The Sanctuary has two stories: Upstairs the main building with its elevated choire, and downstairs a crypt, and four chapels and confessionals. The chapels are dedicated to the Virgins of Pilar, Loreto, Guadalupe and Sacred Heart. The building is framed by a huge square closed-off by arches designed to hold a few thousand people.
Joan Mayné sculpted the altar piece in alabastar. It shows different scenes of the Virgen Mary. It features the Romanic carving mentioned earlier restored to its original beauty. In 1994, an image of the founder was added. In the Santisimo Chapel we find a bronze Christ sculpted by the Italian artist Pasquale Sciancalepore.
The organ has over 4,000 pipes and is venue to the Organ Music Festival in August.
Nowadays it is one of the biggest tourist attractions to the area, and it receives thousands of visits during celebrations, especially between April and October. Since 1980 it has become part of the Marian pilgrimage between Zaragoza and Lourdes. The village of El Grado is at the foot of the Sanctuary and has benefited enormously from its proximity.
An old inn and a hermitage have also been restored and are open to the public. A hydro-electric station uses the reservoire water where the river bed used to be, adding to the natural beauty of the area.
The fiesta of the Virgen de Torreciudad is the first Sunday after August 15.
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