Zuera and its districts – Ontinar de Salz, El Portazgo and the residential developments – are scattered across the fluvial terraces of the Gállego River which, in Roman times, witnessed the growth of the ancient Gallicum and fascinated the settlers from northern Africa who came in the wake of Muslim domination starting in the 8th century.
The origins of Zufaria, an Arabic place name meaning “beautiful”, and the Muslim-origin settlement of Salzey, near the chapel of Salz, whose etymology is linked to the numerous salt mines in the vicinity, can be traced back to that era.
After the Christian conquest, the Muslim peasants, who had a strong understanding of irrigation systems and formed the foundations of the economy in the conquered areas, continued to work their lands.
This strong Arab cultural base came to fruition in the San Pedro church which, as is also the case of the Santo chapel in Tosos, cannot strictly be considered Mudejar, given that it is actually one of the earliest examples of a Cistercian building constructed in brick.
The San Pedro church in Zuera represents an important link between Romanesque and Mudejar architecture; its original structure dates from the second quarter of the 13th century and seems to have had ties to Lamberto, master builder of La Seo in Zaragoza, whose daughter was married to master builder Arnaldo, considered to have been the master builder in Zuera.
The original temple, built in two phases, according to the latest studies conducted by Professor Gonzalo M. Borrás Gualis, consisted of three naves and a chancel with a three-part semi-circular apse, the exterior of which was uncovered in a recent renovation. During the renovation work, double-splayed windows made of brick and the original portal on the south wall were revealed.
However, the appearance of the building today must be mentioned, as it underwent extensive remodeling work and was expanded between the 16th and 20th centuries so that only the interior maintains the sobriety and austerity that characterized the medieval building. The works of art contained inside the building are also of interest.
Another important monument here is the Arco de la Mora, an aqueduct that crosses the ravine, which likely carried water through the rocks by means of excavated galleries.
The town’s natural heritage is outstanding, featuring the Zuera Mountains, which form a hilly relief resulting from water erosion that has generated a landscape of buttes and valleys dotted with farms. The hills are blanketed in green thanks to an extensive forest cover consisting of Aleppo pines.