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Discover Mudejar Territory’: 14 routes to get to know the legacy of fifty villages in the province of Zaragoza

The Mudejar architecture of Aragon is a Unesco World Heritage Site through different manifestations. In Zaragoza province, there are still numerous architectural and artistic samples that allow us to understand the true dimension and significance that Mudejar art has in the Ebro Valley and its tributaries. A legacy that goes beyond being “just bricks and ceramics”, as it is “the tip of the iceberg of a whole culture of fusion”, as stated by the director of Territorio Mudéjar, Victoria Trasobares.
An opportunity to approach this rich heritage are the routes of Territorio Mudéjar, the association of municipalities promoted by the Diputación de Zaragoza to preserve and disseminate the Mudejar art of the province.

Map of the ‘Discover Territorio Mudéjar’ routes, with their five themes. Source: Territorio Mudéjar.

These guided tours, which are being offered for the third consecutive year in collaboration with the provincial institution, are free with prior registration, and those interested only have to pay the cost of transportation from Zaragoza if necessary.

WITH ACTIVITIES IN THE MORNING AND IN THE AFTERNOON, THEY ALSO ALLOW VISITORS TO GET TO KNOW THE LANDSCAPES, TRADITIONS AND GASTRONOMY OF OUR VILLAGES.

14 routes through 48 municipalities

If we look at the numbers, in this edition 14 routes have been programmed, two more than last year, to reach the 48 municipalities that are part of this network that has grown so much in recent years. And there are 29 dates to get to know Aragonese Mudejar art, from December 3, 2023 to the end of 2024.

In its two previous editions, this initiative reached 600 citizens. As the director of Territorio Mudéjar points out, this is the “most mediatic” proposal of this association of town councils.

But, beyond the numbers that make up this variety of options, the routes triumph because of “that handmade halo, with love and care”. “We design them with great care, taking into account the inhabitants, local businesses and the visitors themselves,” she stresses about these urban walks that allow participants to discover a heritage that, in some cases, is not open to visits the rest of the year.

For the deputy delegate of Tourism of the Diputación de Zaragoza, Cristina Palacín, they represent a “magnificent opportunity” to get to know the heritage because they are not “ordinary visits”.

Conducted by art historians who are specializing in Mudejar art, they often incorporate the vision of neighbors, for example, to talk about issues such as crafts or urban planning of the municipality, or to prepare tastings of specialties that “have their roots in the Mudejar gastronomy”.

As Palacín stresses, no two routes are alike because there are “many kinds of Mudejar in the province of Zaragoza”. For this reason, these routes are “a unique” and personalized experience, since Mudejar art occupied an extensive period and was adapted to the materials of the area, such as alabaster, ceramics or wood.

Territorio mudejar
Impressive example of Mudejar wooden structure in Pozuel de Ariza. Source: Territorio Mudéjar.

Registration for the Territorio Mudéjar Routes 2023-2024

Those interested can find out more about each of these routes on the Territorio Mudéjar website and reserve their place. The cost of the guided tour is free and you can go to the villages with your own transport or with the transport provided by the organization, whose rates and availability can be consulted by calling 876634125 and by emailing rutas@territoriomudejar.es. In both cases it is necessary to reserve a place.

As a novelty this year, the same routes can be booked on dates other than those of the proposed calendar. For those who wish to visit these enclaves on a different date, Territorio Mudéjar offers the possibility of personalizing the visit and making one of the 14 routes “a la carte”, for one person only or for groups under certain conditions agreed with the association itself.

And with the aim of putting the heritage managers of each municipality in contact with those interested in visiting it, the information center continues to be active by calling 976 633 296 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

IN SHORT, THREE OPTIONS FOR CITIZENS TO GET CLOSER TO THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT “OF A UNIQUE ART THAT HAS GIVEN INTERNATIONAL IDENTITY TO OUR TERRITORY”.

The Mudejar from a point of view “close to the ground”.

The aim is to “explain what Mudejar is from a point of view very close to the ground”, conveying to visitors the complexity of this phenomenon that has a very broad chronology, ranging from the mid-thirteenth century to almost the end of the sixteenth century and early seventeenth century.

As Trasobares illustrates, this artistic manifestation developed mainly in the Middle Ages, in this case Aragonese, but also occurred in the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, some overseas islands and even Latin America. “Mudejar takes different aesthetic issues, including symbolism or the use of certain spaces, of the three cultures, of cultural fusion,” explains the director about this coexistence between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

From a strictly formal point of view, it is Christian architecture, commissioned by their kings, the nobility or the Church, but built by Muslim masters of Islamic tradition.

Daroca, one of the towns included under the theme of Pueblos Mudéjares. Source: Mudejar Territory.

5 themes group the 14 routes

The result of the work of this new edition are 14 routes, with two days of departure each, except for the last proposal, which will be carried out during 3 days.

Mestizo y fronterizo: Mudéjares’ villages

Under the title ‘Mestizo y fronterizo: pueblos de mudéjares’ (Mestizo and frontier: Mudejar villages), a series of tours are presented through localities in which Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures developed “in an extraordinary and lasting way”. Through the urban planning, the houses and monuments of these villages, the traveler can recognize the important role of these enclaves during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

 

Such is Route 1, which will inaugurate the departures of the 2023-2024 edition. Source: Territorio Mudéjar.

For example, Route 1, which will start on December 3, will pass through Terrer, where the bell tower of the parish church will be climbed, and Villafeliche, with a walk through the main square and a climb to the Calvary, and then a visit to the pottery centers. The day concludes with an afternoon visit to Daroca, with a walk from the tower of Santo Domingo through the neighborhoods of the Moorish and Jewish quarters to finish tasting some almojábanas, a dessert of Islamic tradition very present in the town.

Keys to a style. The origins’.

Keys to a style. The origins’ is another of the themes that brings together several routes to understand the context in which fully Western languages evolved into a new one, marked by the Islamic tradition. The Palacio de los Luna, birthplace of Benedict XIII, or the impressive example of the Mudejar wooden structure in the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Torre, in Pozuelo de Ariza, are just two examples of the riches hidden in these routes.

Ateca is one of the perfect places to appreciate one of the oldest examples of Mudejar: its tower. Source: Territorio Mudéjar.

A bird’s eye view. The towers’.

And the Mudejar towers of the towns of Zaragoza are the protagonists of a proposal “from a bird’s eye view”. As Territorio Mudéjar points out, they show “the incredible construction activity of different types of towers” in medieval times in Aragon.

Detail of the Mudejar tower of Villamayor. Source: Territorio Mudéjar.

A proposal that for the director of the institution is “very attractive” for visitors, as it allows them to discover this kind of “lighthouse”, which is a point of attraction within the localities.

The construction of space. Light and matter’.

Under the heading ‘The construction of space. Light and matter’ there are two other possible routes through churches-fortresses and urban centers, such as those of Maluenda, Borja or Castejón de Valdejasa.


The city of Borja, whose historical ensemble is recognized as an Asset of Cultural Interest. Source: Mudejar Territory

Mudejar World Heritage

Aragon’s Mudejar architecture has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986 with four buildings in the city of Teruel. In 2001, this distinction was extended to Calatayud, Cervera de la Cañada, Tobed and Zaragoza, with the incorporation of six buildings in the province of Zaragoza. So this last route, which has three departure dates, offers such interesting examples as the church of the Virgin of Tobed, the church of Santa Tecla in Cervera de la Cañada or the Collegiate Church of Santa María, all recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001.

Territorio mudejar
The Mudejar of Cervera de la Cañada, an example of Mudejar architecture in Aragon as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Source: Territorio Mudéjar.

As Palacín emphasizes, Zaragoza is “the Aragonese province and the Spanish province where there is more Mudejar in our municipalities and, nevertheless, it is an art that is still often unknown by the citizens themselves”. Therefore, these visits are an opportunity to understand this “magnificent legacy”, while enjoying a sustainable tourism that fits perfectly with the philosophy of the Provincial Council: “to travel through places where wealth can be created, but without being an invasive tourism that harms the environment”.

Dates and routes of Territorio Mudéjar 2023-2024

December 3, 2023 and May 18. Route 1. “Mestizo and frontier: Mudejar villages”: Terrer, Villafeliche and Daroca.
December 9, 2023 and June 8. Keys to a style: the origins”: Zuera, Alagón, Magallón and Tauste.
December 16, 2023, April 21 and December 14, 2024. Route 14. “Mudejar. World Heritage”: Tobed, Cervera de la Cañada and Calatayud.
February 10 and December 1, 2024. Keys to a style: the origins”: Illueca, Villarroya de la Sierra and Torralba de Ribota.
February 18 and May 12. Route 3. “Mestizo and frontier: Mudejar villages”: Saviñán, Mesones de Isuela and La Almunia de Doña Godina.
February 24 and October 5. A bird’s eye view: the towers”: Aniñon, Belmonte de Gracián and Ricla.
February 25 and June 16. “Mestizo and frontier: Mudejar villages”: Fuentes de Ebro, Velilla de Ebro and Quinto.
March 3 and October 20. A bird’s eye view: the towers”: Romanos, Mainar, Villarreal de Huerva, Herrera de los Navarros and Villar de los Navarros.
March 9 and October 26. A bird’s eye view: the towers”: Utebo, Villamayor de Gállego and Muel.
March 17 and November 10. Route 12. “The construction of space: light and matter”: Maluenda, Morata de Jiloca and Acered.
March 23 and November 16, 2024. Route 13. “The construction of space: light and matter”: Borja, Castejón de Valdejasa and San Mateo de Gállego.
April 7 and September 14. Route 7. “Keys to a style: the origins”: Pozuel de Ariza, Ariza and Ateca.
April 13 and November 3. Keys to a style: the origins”: Alpartir, Cosuenda, Cariñena and Longares.
May 4 and September 22. Route 2. “Mestizo and border: Mudejar villages”: Fréscano, Torrellas and Tarazona.

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