Church of San Miguel, Borja

Plaza de San Francisco 50540 Zaragoza



CATEGORY: Religious



Construction of the original building began in the 12th century and was completed in the 13th century. From this period, only the apse, covered by a semi-dome, and the bay containing the presbytery remain standing.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, expansion, renovation and reconstruction work took place, bringing the number of naves to four, separated by diaphragm arches, and adding a wood ceiling structure. A side portico was built, located along the third and fourth bays of the nave on the Gospel side and opening through two pointed brick arches, now covered over. The chapel located in the second bay on the Epistle side, which may have originally been built as the lower section of a bell tower, was also completed.

Remodeling work was done in the 15th and 16th centuries. The portico was closed off, transformed into two chapels dedicated to Nuestra Señora de las Nieves and San Juan de Porta Latina, and two new chapels were built: in the second bay on the Gospel side and in the third bay of the Epistle wall. During this period, quadripartite rib vaults were also raised over the east end, first bay and side chapels.

Further remodeling was done in the 18th century. The ancient structure was concealed when the number of bays was raised to six, underpitch vaults resting on surbased arches were built over the nave, an impost molding line was installed at the height of the vault springing line and the entrance to the temple was moved to the west end wall.
The ancient church of San Miguel, a unique construction due to the changes rendered over the years, currently houses the Archeological Museum. The construction phases sustained by this building span from the 13th century to the 17th century. The north façade was created during the Mudejar expansion of the previous Romanesque temple, where the arches framing the original entrance portico can still be seen.

We know that the first construction was from the mid-13th century in the Romanesque style, the main building material being masonry.

This is a single nave temple with five bays and a semicircular apse, with a presbytery and five chapels attached to the sides of the nave. In the 14th and 15th centuries, three bays were added to the original 13th-century nave, covered by a wood ceiling structure divided by pointed diaphragm arches. It is actually a false roof structure, given that each side is a slanted alfarje system, as is also the case in the side aisle of the church of the Magdalena in Tarazona, for example. This ceiling was covered over in the remodeling done in the late 17th or early 18th century, when an underpitch vault was built over the bays of the nave and the walls were adorned with pilasters, capitals and moldings in the Baroque style. The ceiling structure was revealed again in the restoration and the original beams were replaced, so only the structure is original.
A small exterior space opens off of the church in the apse area, offering a partial view, in which the only decorative element is a line of scroll modillions under the eaves, while one side of the first section of the Mudejar tower is decorated with a strip of angled brick and a line of corbels that appear to define the transition to the next level. This tower, like the extension of the nave to five bays and the aforementioned portico with two arches, was built during the expansion of the church which took place in the late 14th or early 15th century.

The Romanesque structure at the east end consists of a semicircular apse covered by a semi-dome reinforced with ribs that join together in a boss and the adjacent bay with a pointed rib vault. A pointed arch opening with a wide splay leads to the interior at the center of the apse cylinder.

In the Baroque era, the springing lines of the ribs in the first bay and the first transverse arch were decorated with rectangular capitals displaying scroll motifs. They rest on a narrow impost molding that runs around the apse and the south side. Stepped molding runs over the capitals and along the south side of this bay.


Restoration, 20th to 21st century

In July 1999, the restoration of the church of San Miguel that had begun in 1988 was completed. Conversion into a museum, 21st century. This religious building currently houses the Archeological Museum of Borja.

Projects and interventions

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


Declaration, 21st century

The Official Gazette of Aragon dated December 2, 2002 published the Department of Culture and Tourism Order of November 5, 2002 declaring the church of San Miguel in Borja (Zaragoza) a Listed Asset of Aragonese Cultural Heritage.


CASANOVA, Mariano. Restauración de monumentos en Borja. Boletín Informativo del Centro de Estudios Borjanos. 1991 , nº 52, p. 4-5.

FERRER, Pablo. Un poco de historia y de clausura franciscana, pared con pared. Heraldo de Aragón. 22/06/2020 , nº 42.195, p. 13.

HERNANDO SEBASTIÁN, Pedro Luis; Sancho Bas, José Carlos. Del arte medieval al Neoclasicismo en el Campo de Borja [En línea]. En AGUILERA ARAGÓN, Isidro; BLASCO SANCHO, Mª Fernanda. . Comarca del Campo de Borja. Gobierno de Aragón, 2004.p. 179-200.

HERNANDO SEBASTIÁN, Pedro Luis; Sancho Bas, José Carlos. El arte mudéjar en la comarca del Campo de Borja [En línea]. En AGUILERA ARAGÓN, Isidro; BLASCO SANCHO, María Fernanda. (coord.). Comarca del Campo de Borja. Gobierno de Aragón, 2004.p. 201-219. [Consulta: 18 de diciembre de 2020]. 

La iglesia de San Miguel de Borja. Boletín Informativo del Centro de Estudios Borjanos. 1988 , nº 48, 


Church of San Miguel

Plaza de San Francisco
50540, Borja (Zaragoza)

Visit Borja

City Hall: 976 852 001

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