Tower and church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Ricla
TYPE OF ASSET: Property
ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: Mudejar
Original construction, 15th to 16th century
The Mudejar church was built between the 15th and 16th centuries. Of this Mudejar structure, the apse and the first bay, with its chapels and gallery, remain standing.
Expansion, 16th century
In the 16th century, the second bay of the nave and two side chapels on either side were built. The tower was erected in a single phase in the 16th century. In the 18th century, the Magdalena chapel was added around 1720 and the interior was decorated. Some of the vaults were also replaced and an entrance portal over the apse was added.
Change of orientation, 18th century
In 1773, the temple orientation was shifted, the entrance was moved to the apse and part of the original Mudejar construction was concealed. A Neo- classical portal in stone was added to the apse.
The Mudejar tower now stands at the west end of the church, in the southwest corner. When the church was renovated in the 18th century, its orientation was shifted and the current entrance was opened up in the Mudejar apse. The entire construction is the result of a design rendered in the mid-16th century, except for the top, added during the 20th century, to which a cross made by Cristóbal Freislera in 1584 is attached.
As mentioned above, the tower in Ricla is a mixed-type tower, with a square- plan base and an octagonal upper section. The interior structure consists of one tower inside another (an exterior tower wrapped around an inner tower). The entire inner tower is hollow, and it acts as a support structure for the stairway. The stairway is not covered by narrowing courses of bricks, but rather by sections of vaulting with rampant arches.
The octagonal section serves as a bell tower. On the exterior, the transition from one level to another is achieved by means of small turrets at the corners, as is also the case with the tower in Utebo and the Lonja in Zaragoza.
The decorative work on the exterior includes protruding brick details in the shape of crisscrossing diamonds forming intertwined arches and strips of bricks arranged at angles.
The church was constructed in several stages, starting from the late 14th century to the 16th century. What we see today is a single nave made up of two bays and a polygonal apse covered with a rib vault decorated with painted geometric brickwork in the Mudejar tradition. Of the original construction, the five-sided polygonal apse and the first bay next to the apse, covered by a quadripartite rib vault, remain standing. Side chapels were also set between the buttresses and above that, an arcade open to the exterior with pointed arches. The second bay of the nave is from a later date, in the 16th century. It is covered by a stellar vault. Two chapels, one on each side, were attached to this space.
One of the most important altarpieces is that of the Virgen del Rosario, from the late 16th century, attributed to the workshop of the renowned sculptor Damián Forment. Other, less significant, altarpieces, from the 18th century, are those of Saint Michael, Saint Anne, the Virgin and Child and Holy Christ.
Other striking objects are the Virgen de Media Villa, a gilded and polychrome carving from the late 15th century, and an organ decorated in the Rococo style from the second half of the 18th century.
The church was restored in 1992, focusing above all on the roofs, vaults and exterior brick construction. Work was also done on the south arcade of the temple, restoring its original 18th century plaster coat. In 2010 and 2011, restoration work was done on the tower after certain parts had become detached at the top.
Projects and interventions
The church was declared a National Monument on June 3, 1931, published in the Gazette on June 4, 1931. The Official Gazette of Aragon (BOA) dated November 30, 2001 published the Department of Culture and Tourism Order of October 30, 2001, whereby the original declaration of the church of Santa María (of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción) in Ricla (Zaragoza) is supplemented pursuant to Transitional Provision One of Aragonese Cultural Heritage Act 3/1999, of March 10.
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