Following long hours of work and preparation, we are now finishing up the details on our project entitled “El Viajero” (The Traveler), in which we are now doing pilot testing on three activities, never losing sight of sustainability: implementing specialized tours of our heritage based on the research projects we are involved in, creating a central information and booking office, and launching a podcast channel that can be accessed via our website.
In collaboration with Turismo de Aragón (the Aragon tourism office), which called upon non-profit private entities to submit proposals for actions promoting tourism, this initiative seeks to create rural innovation concentrators based on heritage, an objective that we are also developing as part of the LEADER Local Development Strategy through the local action group ADRI Calatayud-Aranda in the projects approved for 2020.
At Territorio Mudéjar, as an artistic and historical heritage management entity focused on the Mudejar, we believe that heritage is a driving force for the development and identity of our towns. And we consider preservation, research and dissemination of the Mudejar identity to be key factors in the creation of tourism activities, which must always be designed from within the region and in conjunction with its inhabitants. This is how we explained it in January at FITUR and this remains our guiding principle in the “El Viajero” project.
The project aims, on the one hand, to enhance the possibilities for bringing visitors of several kinds to the region: traditional travelers, attracted by businesses and activities such as nature, cuisine and spas, to name a few, already existing in the towns, research or educational travelers, and even business travelers; and on the other, it seeks to improve job opportunities and uphold the businesses of professionals related to Mudejar monuments and heritage in each of the towns, such as city council tour guides and heritage and nature-related business owners.
Four signature tours of our member towns have been pilot tested with small groups. Designed by students in the 2020 Challenge Program (DPZ-Universa), the central theme is knowledge about the Mudejar, given that we are supported by superb guides who can explain the topics based on scientific facts.
These tours endeavor to define the towns in this region as a space for tourism focused on preserving our heritage, upholding local communities and opening up hard to reach spaces by means of tailored management and outstanding customer service.
After thoroughly defining the subject matter, in the end the students decided to group the tours around four topics:
a) The origin of the Mudejar: coexisting cultures. Here, we observe how coexisting Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities are reflected in the urban design, dwellings and main monuments.
b) Mudejar highlights, including tours of buildings that clearly reflect the characteristics of Aragonese Mudejar art.
c) Mudejar towers, discovering monumental heritage, urban design and the landscape through these towers.
d) World Heritage, focused on visiting the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Territorio Mudéjar and learning about all the complexities of the Mudejar phenomenon.
Central information and booking office: We have designed and implemented, on a trial basis, a digital switchboard that gives us a line of communication 24 hours a day/7 days a week to meet the information needs of anyone interested in Aragonese Mudejar art and the towns where the monuments are located.
It also enables us to offer our member towns an assessment tool in terms of accessibility to heritage buildings and analysis of demand. The virtual switchboard can be reached by telephone and will forward calls to the pertinent information providers in each town after offering introductory information about Mudejar heritage.
El Viajero: a Territorio Mudéjar podcast channel. The aim is to accompany visitors with entertaining audio clips about the context, history, customs and interesting facts about the places visited. This offers an opportunity to become more familiar with the destination and prepare the journey beforehand, or to be accompanied at all times. This podcast channel got started thanks to one of the Territorio Mudéjar 2020 fieldwork grants, and it will now become part of the El Viajero project.
Like all of our projects, El Viajero is the result of a significant amount of networking and cross-disciplinary collaboration. In this case, students in the 2020 Challenge Program participated (Cátedra de DPZ (DPZ Chair) and Universa) in collaboration with researchers involved in the 2020 Gonzalo M. Borrás Gualis fieldwork grants; Estudio Mique is in charge of technology and usability issues, and Viajar por Aragón has advised us on how to create a model for the Territorio Mudéjar routes in order to complement the existing heritage tourism options and combine proper use of heritage with tourism activities, never losing sight of sustainability and the impact these activities have on the relevant town and its inhabitants.
Our work always takes into account the sustainability of the projects and respect for the inhabitants of our towns. For this reason the activities, which required moving around the towns and were scheduled to take place in October and November, were carried out in highly reduced formats, following diverse recommendations and regulations.
Access is possible via our website homepage (www.territoriomudejar.es).
Further information will be available very soon!