Cultural melting pot
The city of Borja, whose historical district has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, tells the story of a city in which the Mudejar mark is seen even in the Arabic roots of its name: Burya, meaning tower and fort.
This name, deriving from the Arabic etymology used by the Muslims who settled over the ancient Borsao in the 8th century, defines the character of the place and the fortification of the crag on which the castle stands today.
The legacy from that era remains present in its rich historical and artistic heritage, highlighted by the former collegiate church of Santa Maria, a Romanesque temple that was replaced by a Mudejar structure in the 14th century and expanded in the following century.
Other Mudejar structures include the former church of San Miguel, currently housing the archeological museum, and a number of interesting examples of civil architecture such as the Casa Museo Baltasar González and the Casa de la Estanca.
The ancient Burya and urban space
Borja stands out for the structure of its dwellings and its Renaissance architecture, which includes some of the most relevant examples in Aragon.
Its Mudejar legacy is of particular interest, the highlight of which is the former collegiate church of Santa Maria, a 14th century temple built over a previous Romanesque structure as a Mudejar fortress-style church with a single nave, later renovated in the Baroque and Neo-classical styles. There are two towers on the exterior: the base of the clock tower is Romanesque and the remaining portions are Mudejar.
The former church of San Miguel, which currently houses the municipal archeological museum, is also a Mudejar construction from the late 14th century, built over a prior Romanesque temple. With its single nave and wooden roof, the building maintains interesting decorative elements in sculpted plaster.
The Casa Museo Baltasar González was built in the early 15th century and features a rammed earth façade covered with plaster mortar rendering and pointed arches over the main windows.
The Casa de la Estanca -some 8 km from Borja- is one of the few examples of Mudejar civil architecture from the 16th century remaining in Aragon. The building, which was intended as a home for the person in charge of water management, also used as a watch tower, is remarkably well-maintained and integrated into the landscape, making it a unique site.
Today, it houses a magnificent collection of interpretation features about the birds that inhabit the pond there.
The Mudejar legacy can also be seen in the ruins of Castillo de la Zuda, a fortress of Muslim origin, and in Casa de las Conchas, which has plaster decoration linked to the Mudejar tradition.