Project MOMAr: Heritage beyond tourism

At Territorio Mudéjar we strive to develop Mudejar heritage management practices that foster responsible, sustainable tourism designed by those in the places where the heritage is located, always in conjunction with their inhabitants. We are convinced that preservation, research and dissemination of the Mudejar identity are key factors in the creation of tourism activities.

To consolidate this aim and share best practices, from today until November 13, we will be attending the second Interregional Event for Exchange of Experiences 2 (IEE 2), held in the province of Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands, entitled “Heritage, further than tourism: a sustainable future”.

Researcher Irene Ruiz Bazán (professor at the Polytechnic of Turin and Territorio Mudéjar fieldwork researcher) was in charge of moderating the good practice seminars in which several towns belonging to our network stood out in the presentation of unique projects.

The mayor of Torrellas, María Pilar Pérez, presented the Miau urban art project, which has been in place in the town since 2016.

From Alagón, as part of the Heritage and Education seminar, Julián Millán and Pablo Sebastián discussed the interesting work they are doing at the Ribera Alta del Ebro Workshop School.

And from Daroca, Irene Ruiz mentioned the work being done in Territorio Mudéjar, with contributions from researchers Ricardo Monreal and Marta López – 2020 Fieldwork grants – in the Mudejar civil architecture management project, which they are carrying out in accordance with the objectives of the new Fundación Campo de Daroca management body, reaching an important milestone by converting the Palacio de los Luna into a benchmark and a management model for private civil architecture.

On Friday, streaming from the Museo de Momias in Quinto, it will be time to look to the future in the conclusion sessions and also in the workshop on rural heritage management in the era of COVID-19, an issue that Territorio Mudéjar has thoroughly addressed so as to remain active while complying with all the safety measures and ensuring the safety of our visitors, but also, above all, that of the inhabitants of our towns.

Moreover, we have launched a multiplatform digital work solution in order to continue progressing with our projects online, aiming to work in an effective, innovative manner with historical and artistic resources, to the benefit of Mudejar heritage and our region.

Territorio Mudéjar has a strong presence in this forum, in which up to 12 people from our network are participating: students in the Challenge Program, members of city councils like those of Villarreal de Huerva and Maluenda, 2019 and 2020 fieldwork researchers, and more.

* Territorio Mudéjar is a member of MOMAr Interreg Europe (Models of Management for Singular Rural Heritage / Modelos de Gestión para el Patrimonio Rural Singular), which, under the leadership of the Provincial Government of Zaragoza and funded by the European Union, involves entities from six different countries.

El Viajero, a project serving the towns and the people who work there.

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 grantsEstudio 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!

Mudejar valley culture, in the Ruta 67 digital catalog of the Community of Calatayud

The Ruta 67 digital catalog was created as part of the “Descubre tu comarca” (Discover your district) employment workshop, in which Territorio Mudéjar participated by presenting one of the sessions. It maps out tours of the Community of Calatayud district, to discover its historical, cultural and culinary treasures. These routes invite travelers to enjoy the Mudejar heritage in these towns:

Territorio Mudéjar participated in this employment workshop last year by offering a training session that included a field trip to the entity’s offices in Tobed. Participants who took part in the workshop, sponsored by the Community of Calatayud district and subsidized by the Government of Aragon and the INAEM, for a full year received a level 3 professionalism certificate for local tourism promotion and visitor information, which qualifies them to work in visitor information settings.

Posters with QR codes will be set up in the towns through which the routes pass, which travelers can scan with their mobile phones to read the digital brochure. You can also download it here.

FITUR 2020: Territorio Mudéjar as a role model of sustainable tourism and cultural heritage

Territorio Mudéjar is presenting at the leading international tourism trade fair a model for access to heritage that poses an opportunity to uphold local communities

Territorio Mudéjar is present at FITUR 2020, the leading tourism trade fair, which has become an excellent showcase for spotlighting the potential of our towns and heritage, as well as our proposal for smart, ‘green’ tourism strongly linked to the towns and their inhabitants.

At Territorio Mudéjar we strive to develop Mudejar heritage management practices that foster responsible, sustainable tourism designed by those in the places where the heritage is located, always in conjunction with their inhabitants.

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.

Therefore, we have aligned our work with the goals of Agenda 2030 and with the SDGs, as our guiding principles.

In this sense, as we shall explain at FITUR:

  • We promote the management of local eco-systems, extraction and use of nearby materials, native trades and craftsmanship that reduce energy consumption, and investments, all of which aid in the creation of sustainable means of subsistence and encourage green economies.
  • We believe that knowledge is key: accessibility to heritage as a starting point. We contribute our perspective in the construction of quality education at all levels that promotes learning opportunities which we believe to be crucial in the promotion of economic growth and high quality work.
  • We work with heritage space as a concentrator for rural innovation: new uses, workplace innovation, gender equality, inter-generational experiences and, in sum, working to reduce the inequality that arises, in our case, from working with world renowned heritage in a rural setting.

We firmly believe that places in which heritage resources – historical, cultural and natural – are managed in a conscientious and intelligent manner are resilient, distinct and identity-based places. They are places for investment, development and future.

To better spotlight our region, we will also be presenting a video at FITUR 2020, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiCaStafQfA