The fifth milestone
Quinto, capital of the Ebro River’s Ribera Baja region, has Roman roots – its name derives from the Latin term for the “fifth milestone” along the road to Caesaraugusta – and it was also a Muslim settlement which, despite the urban development over time, still bears traces of the Moors in part of the historical center.
In the highest part of the town stands the church of La Asunción, known as El Piquete among the townspeople, a 14th century Mudejar fortified church evidencing the signs of its evolution over the years in the single nave with a polygonal apse and side chapels, over which a corridor or surveillance alure runs.
The building is the product of several construction phases, but its imposing volume dates from the original Mudejar phase, spanning from the apse to the tower. The shape and structure of the Mudejar elements of the church are closely related to the now-lost San Pedro Mártir church in Calatayud; this, in addition to the involvement of Benedict XIII in the construction, has led the design to be attributed to Mahoma Rami, Papa Luna’s architect.
The mausoleum in “El Piquete”
El Piquete is the town’s main attraction, offering a lookout point where visitors can contemplate the elegant layout of the town and its strong ties to the river. While the graceful shape and masterful use of materials characterize the exterior of the church, its bell tower is what truly draws the eye.
With a square floor plan, its walls are covered in Mudejar brickwork with an interlacing ornamental pattern.
The interior offers visitors a wonderful learning experience, firstly, because the different stages of construction have been well preserved, and secondly, because it houses the Museo de Momias (Mummy Museum), a unique space in which 15 mummified bodies are on display along with utensils and other items found during archeological digs and building restoration work.
When the central nave of the ancient church of La Asunción was excavated in the spring of 2011, hundreds of graves were discovered that had been dug into the building floor between the 18th and early 19th centuries, some of which were exceptionally well-preserved as a result of the special features of the climate and atmosphere in the building.
It is also worth taking a walk around Quinto to discover its interesting layout and well-kept dwellings, typical of the towns along the banks of the Ebro River, such as the Casa Parroquial, a 16th century brick Aragonese palace. The village gates conserve the charm of medieval vernacular and military defense architecture. This is the case, in particular, of the San Roque, San Miguel and San Antón arches, the fragments of the gates to the ancient wall, which were transformed into chapels suspended over the street in the 17th and 18th centuries.