The Islamic imprint
Embraced by the Jalón River gorge and surrounded by natural beauty, due to its strategic position, this town was an important point for the defense of the Kingdom of Aragon in the Middle Ages. The remains of the ancient defensive structures from that era still exist, such as the Torre de las Encantadas, a tower erected in the 15th century in the Mudejar tradition, representing a rare example of this type of structure in the region of Aragon.
The Islamic imprint on the town is no coincidence, given that it was an important Mudejar settlement, with a population of 120 Moorish households counted at the time of the expulsion in 1610. Its urban design features an irregular layout of twisting streets and alleys, dwellings with simple façades and few windows, reminiscent of domestic Mudejar architecture. The best examples of civil architecture built in this style include the Palace of the Condes de Argillo, while the church of La Señoría and the parish church of San Pedro are representative of Mudejar religious buildings.
The Palace of the Condes de Argillo, custodian of the skull of “Papa Luna”
The highlight of the town is its ensemble of monuments and the spectacular scenery around it. Of particular note is the church of San Miguel, popularly known as La Señoría, which was built in the Moorish quarter in the second half of the 16th century; the tower and some of the original panels of the façade remain intact. The tower was constructed adjacent to the south wall and has two octagonal-plan sections and a Christian structure, with a spiral staircase in the interior. The exterior is striking for its protruding brick decoration done in the Mudejar tradition.
One of the most interesting palatial homes is the palace of the Condes de Argillo, a solid construction made of brick and rammed earth that still preserves its palatial or noble character, for the most part, as can be seen in the façade facing the Plaza de la Muñoza, for example. The skull of Papa Luna was kept there from the time of the War of Spanish Succession, according to some scholars, and from the Peninsular War, according to others.
The parish church of San Pedro Apóstol is not to be missed when taking a stroll around the town. Built in the 17th century over a previous Mudejar temple, the entrance to this Baroque structure features a portal with a flat arch and an adjacent square-plan tower in the Mudejar tradition.