Across an extensive ochre and reddish plain, under the watchful gaze of the Algairén Mountains, with a tapestry of 3,000 hectares of vineyards underfoot, Longares can be spotted in the distance by the silhouette of its church tower.
It is one of the most austere examples of Aragonese Mudejar, with a square floor plan and a hollow interior structure divided into six storeys with a pointed barrel vault over it, which does not coincide with the exterior, arranged into three sections.
Most of the decoration is in the third section: the same composition is repeated on all four sides, with two pointed-arch openings surrounded by a frame of protruding brick highlights forming interlacing four-part octagonal shapes – the main ornamental motif – combined with cartouches. This is finished with ceramic decorative elements consisting of spike-shaped strips and discs with white, blue and green pieces.
The Islamic tradition
There is no precise information about the construction date, but its structure and decoration place it in the second half of the 14th century. This monument is adjacent to the west end of the Renaissance church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, built over a 12th century Romanesque church. On the south side of the church, a Mudejar wall section from the old church persists. The church houses works of incalculable value such as the Nuestra Señora del Rosario altarpiece painted by Guión y Balladares, the Virgen del Pilar, Santo Cristo and Santa Ana altarpieces, the lavishly decorated pulpit with plaster imagery, the Ecce-Homo chapel containing a bust attributed to Alonso Cano, the 16th century baptismal font made of Muel ceramic, and the mummy of Isabel de Ledesma.
Longares was originally a walled city, and three of the five city gates still exist: the gates of Valencia, Somera and Zaragoza, the latter of which has been rebuilt. The town’s heritage also includes the Fuente de los Machos fountain and the Paloteao de Longares, a dance done during the patron saint festivities celebrating the Virgin in September.