Over the ruins of an ancient castle, in the highest part of the village, with exceptional views of the Armantes Mountains and the Ribota Valley, we find one of the highlights of the Aragonese Mudejar: the church of Santa Tecla or Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001 for its unique style, excellent conservation and incomparable beauty.
This single-nave fortified church is one of the most significant, and thoroughly intact, constructions preserved to this day by one of the two most relevant Mudejar master builders in medieval Aragon: Mahoma Rami. Known as the master builder of the great Aragonese patron, Pedro Martínez de Luna, Pope Benedict XIII, or “Papa Luna”, his presence is a constant throughout the lordship of the Luna family from the late 14th century to the first half of the 15th.
He completed the church in 1426, leaving his signature on the choir parapet with the inscription: “Obrada et deficada por: Mahoma Rami: con Dios”.
Mahoma Rami’s final years
UNESCO World Heritage 2001
Santa Tecla is a simple church with a five-sided polygonal chancel that is not aligned with the axis of the central nave but rather with the cylindrical fortified tower of the castle. The austerity of the exterior contrasts with the spectacular interior decoration typical of early Mudejar churches, which has been preserved in all its splendor. The walls, made to resemble ashlars through the use of pictorial decoration in the form of bricks, the ribbed vaults decorated with black dragons, the large late Gothic rose windows and the heraldic motifs like the coats of arms of Aragon and of Cervera de la Cañada all draw one’s attention.
In this church we can also find examples from the local woodworking school that settled in the Calatayud region in the first decade of the 15th century. The main one is the polychrome wood alfarje (ceiling structure) that supports the choir. Just below this choir is another unique feature of this church: the golden oculus with a seven-point interlaced Mudejar motif, which is unique in Spanish Mudejar architecture.