Tower of the church of Santa María, Ateca
TYPE OF ASSET: Property
ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: Mudejar
Middle Ages: Second half of the 13th century
Modern Era, 17th century: The second section of the Baroque tower replaced the original Mudejar tower.
The first section of the tower has a square floor plan and was built in the style of the Mudejar towers featuring an inner tower structure, around which another tower is wrapped, with a stairway between the two. The tower is divided rooms on four levels, one above the other, covered by barrel vaults. The stairway provides access to these rooms.
It is worth noting that, as one ascends the tower, the lower part of the stairway is covered by eight small barrel vaults made of brick laid in a sardinel bond arrangement. There follow six small quadripartite rib vaults and, finally, this roofing system, which is rather “experimental” in nature, is completed with a system of narrowing courses of brick like that seen in other towers such as the one in the church of Santa María in Tobed, which is the most widespread system in the second half of the 14th century and the 15th century.
The lower part of the first section has apertures to allow light into the stairway. This light was subsequently blocked when the tower was attached to the church at a later date. The openings were built at the level where the stairs provide access to the rooms in the inner tower, with an ogee arch of oriental influence in the south wall while the west wall features a surbased arch with voussoirs that are split at the center and thick perpends between those near the impost molding.
At the top of this first section of the tower, there is a series of decorative horizontal friezes forming large panels filled with seven blind pointed horseshoe arches resting on cylindrical honey-colored and green shafts with ceramic discs of the same colors and stamped fleurs-de-lis within the spandrels of the arches; a frieze of five cross shapes inscribed within a square to form a fishbone pattern; and a frieze of angled bricks adorning discs, as well as friezes of intertwined pointed arches resting on brick pilasters, flanked by ceramic shafts.
The ceramic decorative work on the exterior was restored in 1970. The belfry, spire, façades and interior of the different sections have undergone diverse types of restoration work in recent years.
RESTORATION PROJECT, 20th CENTURY The restoration project was carried out in two phases, spanning from 1985 to 1994. A second restoration project was completed in 2001.
Projects and interventions
The church and tower of Santa María in Ateca were declared an Asset of Cultural Interest under the Ministry of Culture Decree dated January 12, 1983, which was published the Official State Gazette of March 5, 1983.
BORRÁS GUALIS, GONZALO M., Arte Mudéjar Aragonés, Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad de Zaragoza Aragón y Rioja y el Colegio Oficial de Aparejadores y Arquitectos técnicos de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, 1985.
GALIAY, JOSÉ. Arte mudéjar aragonés, Institución Fernando el Católico, Zaragoza, 2002.
MARTÍNEZ GARCÍA, FRANCISCO J. Ateca, desde sus orígenes hasta el año 1500, Institución Fernando el Católico, Zaragoza, 2015.
MILLÁN GIL, JULIÁN Y SANMIGUEL MATEO, AGUSTÍN (COORD.). Comarca de la Comunidad de Calatayud, Colección Territorio nº 20, Departamento dePresidencia y Relaciones Institucionales del Gobierno de Aragón, Zaragoza, 2005.
SANMIGUEL MATEO, AGUSTÍN. Torres de ascendencia islámica en las comarcas de Calatayud y Daroca, Centro de estudios bilbilitanos, Institución“Fernando el Católico”, Calatayud, 1998.
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- VV. AA. Comunidad de Calatayud y El Monasterio de Piedra, Colección RutasCai por Aragón nº 12, Zaragoza, 2004.
- VV. AA. Las supuestas características almohades de la torre de Ateca, IV Encuentro de Estudios Bilbilitanos, I, Calatayud: Centro de Estudios Bilbilitanos, 1997.
- MARTÍNEZ GARCÍA, Francisco José. Ateca, desde sus orígenes hasta el año 1500. Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico, 2015.
- SANMIGUEL MATEO, Agustín. Torres de ascendencia islámica en las comarcas de Calatayud y Daroca. Aragón (España). Calatayud: Centro de Estudios Bilbilitanos, 1998.