Church of San Mateo Apóstol, San Mateo de Gállego

Plaza de la Iglesia. San Mateo de Gállego


CATEGORY: Religious


CONSTRUCTION DATE: Original construction, 16th century

The original construction period is not documented but it was probably a fortified Mudejar church. The volume standing under the tower dates from the 14th century and the presbytery and upper levels are from the 15th century. The parish church dates from the 16th century. The earliest construction date is unknown but documents show that the choir and part of the tower were erected in 1580, while the high altar was repaired in 1582.

Insertion of movable elements, 16th century
In 1572 a canvas was purchased to adorn the magnificent high altar.
Located on a terrace known as Plaza del Castillo in San Mateo de Gállego (Zaragoza), the relevance of this church lies in its exterior, given that it boasts one of the most lavishly decorated façades of all the Aragonese Mudejar churches. The parish church was built in the 16th century but it was probably a fortified Aragonese Mudejar church originally. This assertion is also backed by its location on a hill overlooking the valley and by the fact that the tower has no entrance at street level but only from the second floor.

Its current appearance is the result of extensive changes. The earliest structure was probably the tower, to which an apse was later attached. Brick was the construction material use. The building features a single nave with two bays covered with rib vaults, with side chapels and another space for the choir at the west end. The east end has straight sides and is covered with a stellar vault.

The tower, erected over the ruins of the castle, has a square footprint and a central buttress. Over the spaces that were repurposed from the castle wall, another level, made of brick, was added, to be used as a bell tower. The stairs run between the tower and its central buttress, covered by small barrel vaults. The top of the tower has a typical Aragonese walkway. This tower is decorated with stepped decorative battlements, diamond shapes, recessed squares, oculi and zig-zags.


Restoration, 20th to 21st century

In 1998 a restoration project was carried out. It contained a report on health and safety in the workplace.

Projects and interventions

Projects and interventions, and the driving forces behind them, define the history of monumental buildings and how they are perceived.


Declaration, 20th century

On March 9, 1983, the church of San Mateo in San Mateo de Gállego (Zaragoza) was declared a Historical and Artistic Monument (today, an Asset of Cultural Interest).

Under the Department of Culture and Tourism Order of October 15, 2001 (Official Gazette of Aragon dated November 14, 2001), the original declaration of the church of San Mateo as an Asset of Cultural Interest was supplemented, defining the Asset and its protected environment and specifying the most relevant movable assets therein.


Arte Mudéjar Aragonés. Patrimonio De La Humanidad, Institución Fernando el Católico, Zaragoza, 2002.

Tierra Mudéjar. El mudéjar Aragonés, Patrimonio Mundial, Heraldo de Aragón, D.L. 2002.


Church of San Mateo Apóstol

Plaza de la Iglesia
San Mateo de Gállego (Zaragoza)

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