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19 junio 2024

Uncastillo: maximum expression of the Aragonese Romanesque style

Belonging to the region of the Cinco Villas, Uncastillo has bequeathed one of the greatest historical-artistic ensembles of Aragon. Discover the monumental wealth and the secrets that this town keeps inside.

Located in the historic region of Cinco Villas, Uncastillo enjoys one of the most important monumental sites in Aragon. Declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1966, its variety and wealth of churches and hermitages, as well as its cobbled streets and its Jewish quarter make it a must-see destination in Aragon.

From Go Aragón, we present you some of the places and activities that you cannot miss.

Uncastillo streets. (Video: Olga Gudnikova)

Church of Santa María

Despite not being a large municipality, the town has 7 churches and 2 hermitages. The great majority of the constructions are Romanesque combined with the Jaque style.

The most emblematic is the Church of Santa Maria, located on the other side of the river Riguel, riverbed that crosses Uncastillo. The first foundations of this monument were erected in the 12th century by order of King Ramiro II of Aragon, taking as a base an ancient Mozarabic church from the 10th century. Romanesque in style, this construction stands out for its southern doorway with its beautiful archivolts and capitals on which stands a beautiful Pantocrator.

Church of Santa María Uncastillo
Church of Santa María. (Foto: uncastillo.es)

Church of San Martín de Tours

On the north side of the Ayllón rock, another must-see location is the church of San Juan, with spectacular views of the entire town. One of the most complete religious buildings that Uncastillo preserves, this church maintains the apse and has three naves covered with starred cross vaults. The interior can only be accessed with a guided tour, where you can also find the museum that houses the interpretation center of Religious Art of the Pre-Pyrenees.

As a remarkable curiosity, on the outside of the church are some ancient tombs carved into the stone on which the church sits. In these graves it is easy to see the human forms where the bodies were introduced.

Church of San Martín de Tours. (Foto: uncastillo.es)

Hermitage of San Cristóbal

If you are looking for a perfect panoramic view of the town and also to do some exercise, visiting the hermitage of San Cristobal is an excellent option. The views and the tranquility that can be breathed from this place will make it worth the 30-minute walk. One of the most important festivals celebrated in Uncastillo in September are in honor of the Virgin that houses the chapel, the Virgin of San Cristobal.

Hermitage of San Cristóbal. (Foto: uncastillo.es)

Peña de Ayllón Castle

Cradle of the town and seated on a rocky mound, the castle of the Peña de Ayllón, also known as Unum Castrum, dominates the entire landscape of the town. The construction of this medieval fortress dates back to the 11th and 13th centuries. Some remains of the castle such as the octagonal tower belonging to the palace of Pedro IV, are part of the Gothic of the fourteenth century.

The Torre del Homenaje (Homage Tower) in Romanesque style was built between the 12th and 13th centuries, and today it has been transformed into a museum, a place where you can learn more about the history of the town. Another of the few towers that still stands is the slender watchtower, which now houses part of a Gothic palace of the fourteenth century.

La Peña de Ayllón Castle. (Foto: Olga Gudnikova)

Jewish quarter of Uncastillo

This medieval village also has a Jewish quarter in very good condition. A place of commercial, mercantile and artisan confluence of the Jewish community until its expulsion in 1492, this part of the town has bequeathed sites of interest such as the recently recovered synagogue or the Jewish cemetery.

The Jewish quarter of Uncastillo, baptized after the expulsion as Barrio Nuevo, is characterized by its narrow streets and the secrets it keeps related to the Jewish religion, its symbols and traditions. If you want to know more about the history of this area, do not hesitate to stop by the tourist office of Uncastillo, located in the Church of San Martin, and take one of their guided tours.

Jewish quarter of Uncastillo. (Foto: uncastilo.es)

Gastronomy and craftsmanship in Uncastillo

Handmade by the Conservera del Prepirineo, Uncastillo’s flagship product is its pâtés. These vegetable delicacies offer a variety of flavors from Aragon olive pâtés with onion or roasted red bell pepper pâtés to zucchini pâtés with walnuts and many more.

If you are more of a sweet tooth and want to take home a sweet souvenir of Uncastillo, we recommend you to visit the Pemán Bakery. There you can find one of the most characteristic sweets: cakes. The most typical ones are made of anise and butter, although another product you can try is the cuajo, a very tasty bread in the form of torteta.

Some of the restaurants in the area to taste the gastronomy of the Cinco Villas are the restaurant El Secreto or the Bar Forjo. And for lovers of handmade products, do not hesitate to visit the Antigua Artesanía, located in an old theater. There you can find different objects and decorative furniture, as well as other restoration works.

Roman site of Los Bañales

Very close to the town of Layana is the Roman site of Los Bañales. This enclave has thermal baths built at the end of the 1st century A.D. and an aqueduct that transported water to the city from a nearby reservoir. If you are thinking of visiting them, there are several open days throughout the year.

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