John - Jánovas
|Location of Jánovas in Spain.|
|Location of Jánovas in the province of Huesca.|
|• Autonomous communication||Aragon|
|• Judicial party||Boltana|
|• Altitude||713 masl|
|Population||3 have. ( INE 2019 )|
Population and economy
Jánovas was the largest population of those existing in the Ara Valley . The Dictionary Geographic-Statistical of Pascual Madoz accurate que' mid-nineteenth century, had "35 houses, foundling the Town, distributed in a square and five blocks" [ 1 ] the ground was of "medium quality" and produced " wheat, mixture, corn, millet, oats, scallop, common, beans, broad beans, flax, hemp, oil and little wine ”while raising“ sheep, cattle and mule ”. In addition to these activities, its inhabitants were dedicated to "driving timber to the part of Tortosa by the Ara and Cinca rivers ." The town had a flour mill and a fulling millmunicipally owned. [ 2 ]
In 1900 it comprised 35 houses and more than 200 neighbors. Its economy was based on agriculture and livestock and cattle. It had a flour mill that also supplied electricity to the town. A few years later, Lucien Briet , a regular traveler to the area, described his visit to the town this way:
Don José's tobacconist gave me the effect of a portable shed; There I was received by an old woman, who immediately guided me to her house, located on the opposite side of the alley. While I was preparing my soup, I had time to visit Jánovas, whose population does not exceed fifty inhabitants. The gardens [sic] were truly fertile: apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, plum trees, grapevines, they pleased the eye on all sides. The Church, despite its Romanesque portico, had nothing in particular. I sat down again on the bank of the San Felices stream and next to a fountain, where the boys often came to drink. Some ducks were messing around. A girl who was washing whitewashed the water with the suds of soap. [ 3 ]
In the middle of the 20th century, Jánovas had 42 houses and 260 neighbors. It was depopulated, like the neighboring towns of Lacort and Lavelilla , between 1961 and 1986, due to the sale or expropriation of homes and land to build a reservoir in its vicinity on the Ara River. The reservoir was not built and in 2008 the process of reversion to its former owners or their heirs of the expropriated assets began.
It formed a municipality with Lacort and Lavellila. At present it belongs to the Prosecutor .
The town was made up of mountain houses, built with ashlars and ashlars in the corners and lintels, with balconies on the facades and large conical chimneys, characteristic of the region. The existence of Renaissance or Baroque elements in the dwellings is not known. In 2020 work is being done on the reconstruction of some houses.
San Miguel Parish
It is built with ashlar. It is rectangular in shape, the central nave is covered with a pointed barrel vault and is divided into three sections by transverse arches; It also has three small side chapels. The apse is straight and the tower consists of three sections with openings to the west and south. Although there was a Romanesque temple, of which the façade remains, the building was rebuilt in the 16th century. [ 4 ]Desacralized in 1963, it has been restored, in 2016, at the initiative of the San Miguel de Jánovas Foundation. A new roof has been built and the stone that tops the tower has been preserved, while the interior has been consolidated and cleaned. The semicircular façade, belonging to the primitive Romanesque church, was dismantled when the town was abandoned and rebuilt in Fiscal, next to the parish.
Fountain and trough
The Madoz Geographical-Statistical Dictionary, published in 1847, specifies: "at the entrance to the town there is a source of water that supplies the neighbors for drinking and other domestic needs." [ 5 ] It has a square floor plan, it is excavated so it is descended by some brick stairs. The floor is slab, it is protected by a parapet. The fountain itself is made up of a piece in which two intertwined snakes have been roughly carved from whose mouths water comes out, which is used to feed the trough. [ 6 ] It has been restored at the beginning of the 21st century by the new residents, as well as the old school building that has been converted into a social center.
It is one of the few bridges of these characteristics built in the 19th century and preserved without substantial changes. It is located at the entrance of the Ara river gorge, within the municipality of Jávenas, in a narrow space, free from strong floods. It hangs from two stone stirrups located at the entrances, the top of which reads the date of 1881. The four main cables have the particularity of being made up of parallel wires and the deck is 2.5 meters wide. At the beginning of the 20th century, Lucien Briet , a regular widower from this region, described it like this:
A bridge, suspended by iron wire cables, is so narrow that it only allows the passage of horses. Its length is one fifty steps. Later down the road to the level of the river [ 7 ]
It has deteriorated as a result of the depopulation of Jánovas.
Reservoir project and eviction of neighbors
On April 14, 1951, the Iberduero company (currently Iberdrola ) was commissioned to carry out a hydroelectric project in the Ara valley, which as a result would flood the towns of Jánovas, Lavelilla and Lacort, among others. All these towns and lands would become part of the property of the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation (CHE), which would allocate part of that water to the Monegros region . [ 8 ]
At the beginning of 1960, although the works on the reservoir had not yet begun, the expropriation of the lands and houses of the town's inhabitants began. The resistance of some inhabitants would even lead to the dynamiting of their houses.
Faced with the refusal of the Huesca government to close the school as long as there were schoolchildren in 1966, the national state ordered to withdraw all teachers and schoolchildren from school by force. With the help of the government, the company continued plowing the fields, cutting down the fruit and olive trees, destroying the ditches and finally cutting off the electricity and water. Most of the inhabitants finally decided to go mainly to Zaragoza , Barcelona and Barbastro and by 1984 the town was permanently evicted.
Suspension of the project and reversion of farms
When the work was not completed, in 2001 a new study was made on the viability of the reservoir which ruled that its execution was economically unviable and the environmental report with negative results, so in 2005 the project was rejected. In 2008, the CHE sent a reversal request to some 115 affected, and later studies began to rebuild the town.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the houses have been rebuilt and the infrastructures are put into operation. In this sense, on March 8, 2019, the electricity supply was restored with the financial support of the Government of Aragon. [ 9 ]
In 2016, the San Miguel de Jánovas Foundation was established in order to promote the rehabilitation of the town.
- Madoz, 1847, t. IX, p. 282.
- Madoz, 1847, t. IX, p. 282.
- Briet, 1988, I, p. 132
- Aragonese Cultural Heritage Information System (SIPCA)
- Madoz, 1847, t. IX, p. 281.
- Biret, 1988, I, p. 131
- SIPCA ( SIPCA )
- Electrical installation
- Briet, L. Bellezas del Alto Aragón . Huesca, Provincial Council, 1988, 2 v.
- Madoz, P. Geographical-Statistical-Historical Dictionary of Spain and its overseas possessions . Madrid, 1845-1850, t. IX.
- Menjón Ruiz, MS Jánovas. Victims of a paper swamp . 2nd ed. Jaca, Pirineum Editorial 2006.