The banks of the Jiloca River
Morata de Jiloca greets its visitors on the left bank of the river to which it owes its name with the ruins of what was once a Muslim-origin castle and the dazzling shimmer of sunlight reflecting off the ceramic tiles of the north façade of the church of San Martín de Tours, an Aragonese Mudejar icon.
This church was designed in the fortified church style, with a single nave and chapels between the buttresses, featuring a rational structure with sturdy, simple elements.
The Mudejar brickwork dates from the first decade of the 15th century and the building’s history includes a reorientation in the late 16th century that involved the construction of a new presbytery, converting the original one into a choir at the west end.
The church of San Martín de Tours
At first glance, one can see that the church of San Martín de Tours has a nave that is larger but lower in height than other Mudejar churches of this kind in Aragon, yet its distinguishing feature is the large tapestry rendered on one of its façades.
Decorated with protruding brick detail work and white and blue polychrome ceramic, the number of different ornamental designs used is striking: crisscrossing lines forming diamond shapes, strips of angled brick and adjacent mixtilinear arches alternate with discs and tiles forming eight-point stars and cylinders.
The portal is also worth noting, as it follows Gothic patterns, masterfully interpreted in the language of the Mudejar tradition.
Through all of this, the harsh years of the border war seem left behind, giving way to a visual spectacle similar to that of the Parroquieta de San Miguel de la Seo in Zaragoza, the gables of the Virgen in Tobed and the now-lost church of San Pedro Martir in Calatayud.
The interior of the church of San Martín houses an altarpiece depicting the descent from the cross, created in the second half of the 15th century, an excellent example of paint on panel.
The heritage of Morata de Jiloca is incomplete without its landscape, a surprising backdrop of gullies sculpted by the whims of nature. A pleasant walk along a path leads to a lookout point over this phenomenon caused by the action of the rain and wind on the gypsum rock through which the Jiloca River has carved its path.