At the foot of the mountains
Villar de los Navarros, standing at the foot of the Herrera mountains, was the site of one of the most crucial battles in the first Carlist War and preserves a wealth of Islamic historical and artistic heritage thanks to its proximity to the heart of the Mudejar presence in Aragon: located in the Jalón River valley and along the Huerva River valley. For example, in the center of the town is the San Pedro parish church, a 15th century temple that stands out as a result of two expansions of the original Mudejar construction, added in the 16th and 18th centuries. In the interior, the choir is striking for the wall fragments featuring Mudejar painted brickwork, in which interlacing mixtilinear motifs and intertwined Gothic quatrefoils can be seen. However, on the exterior it is the Mudejar bell tower that draws all eyes.
The beauty of Mudejar “horror vacui”
The San Pedro church tower, built in the early decades of the 15th century adjacent to the west end of the church, has a unique layout. The main tower is the bell tower, featuring a square plan and five storeys not connected to each other, and attached to it is a second, smaller tower. This second tower contains a spiral staircase, which is the only way to access the rooms in the first tower. These rooms have quadripartite rib vaults and their ceilings become lower the higher up they go in the tower. The exterior features the typical decorative panels that were commonplace in the 14th century: simple angled brick friezes, strips of double-edged zig-zag patterns, intertwined mixtilinear arches and panels of crisscrossing lines forming diamond shapes. The main tower is crenelated at the top and has a pyramid-shaped spire.
Villar de los Navarros’ heritage also includes the chapels of Santa Bárbara and Santa Ana, peirones, or wayside crosses, that preserve this ancestral tradition, a path to the Way of the Cross – on one of the hillsides – and to the Virgen de Herrera sanctuary on the other.