2019 Fieldwork: 3D Mudejar World Heritage: digital graphic documentation and educational outreach to revalue Mudejar architecture

The 3D Mudejar World Heritage project is a cross-disciplinary initiative that proposes two complementary actions aimed at revaluing Mudejar heritage. On the one hand, several buildings were registered in a digital inventory and virtual reconstructions were created using a combination of 3D scanners, photogrammetry and drone filming. These include the collegiate church of Santa Maria in Calatayud, the church of Santa Tecla in Cervera de la Cañada and the church of La Virgen in Tobed, all of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites, in addition to a previous project undertaken by the research team on the church of San Félix in Torralba, with subsequent work on the preliminary phase of work on the church of Santas Justa y Rufina. On the other, the materials were designed to bring data collection and analysis techniques and technology into educational settings in the Territorio Mudéjar towns. The first of these actions was scientific in nature, enabling the virtual reconstruction of these buildings and thus having a strong impact on the scientific community. The second, of a participatory nature, prompted value creation by pertaining to a brand image, Territorio Mudéjar, which has a significant impact on the inhabitants of these towns.

The virtual 3D building survey consists in capturing the actual geometry of a constructed building using the latest point cloud technology in order to replicate buildings with enough precision to provide information that is at least virtual about them in the event of any eventuality. A three-dimensional survey makes it possible to keep a highly precise copy of the current condition of a building so that it can be replicated; this aids in upkeep because geometric information, for example, can be used to simulate structures, moisture, etc. It is also useful in understanding the building and sharing knowledge about it, as an inventory with the three-dimensional models can be created and placed in 3D databases so that the building can be viewed and studied anywhere in the world. With a 3D printer, scale models can even be made.

The second action in this project entails initiatives for raising awareness among the inhabitants of the Territorio Mudéjar towns about the fact that they possess emblematic assets of universal value. The best way to create opinion and brand image – in this case, the Territorio Mudéjar brand – is through schools, given that the youth population is the most open to learning and the most sensitive to the digital world. Therefore, with a view to revaluing Mudejar art, didactic exhibitions and educational workshops at schools were proposed, in which teachers, AMPA and researchers take part, using the project-based learning method.

LINE OF RESEARCH: (1) New Perspectives on Mudejar Art


  • Luis Agustín Hernández, an architect with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and professor at the School of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Zaragoza.
  • Miguel Sancho Mir, an architect with a PhD in Architectural Graphic Expression and professor at the School of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Zaragoza.
  • Beatriz Martin Domínguez, architect and professor at the Polytechnic School of Engineering in La Almunia, University of Zaragoza.

2019 Fieldwork: Mudejar plaster work, as used today: searching the memories of artisans for the keys to traditional production

The fieldwork project entitled Mudejar plaster work, as used today represented the next step in Pedro Bel’s doctoral thesis, which confirmed that Mudejar plaster production techniques remained unchanged until the mid-20th century. This research digs further into the traditional plaster production process to gain an in-depth understanding of it and to identify the catalysts and motives that led to changes in today’s plaster production, increasing its quantity and reducing its quality. During the project, former plaster artisans were located and their technique was documented, noting the variations today. In the process, quarries and former gypsum furnaces were also visited, documenting their conditions and creating a 3D photogrammetric survey at those of particular interest; a registry was also made to identify the region’s buildings with typical Mudejar plaster features. As stated in the conclusion, the ultimate aim is to revitalize work spaces linked to construction trades, re-activating them by creating a local business devoted to traditional or Mudejar plaster production.

The research took place in the towns of Aniñón, Borja, Calatayud, Daroca, Fuentes de Ebro, La Almunia de Doña Godina, Longares, Maluenda, Quinto de Ebro, Ricla, San Mateo de Gállego, Tauste, Terrer, Tobed, Villamayor, Villafeliche and Villar de los Navarros.

The study shows that traditional plaster production processes were prevalent until 1950, after which time the technology at the quarries began to develop rapidly. Those that failed to adapt quickly became obsolete and went bankrupt, making it commonplace to find gypsum plaster furnaces still intact and storerooms containing gypsum at the old Aragonese quarries. The semi-industrialization that took place in the fifties altered the traditional plaster made, and the change that had the greatest impact was when manual grinding was replaced with mechanical grinding procedures.

External factors that influenced this phenomenon include strong demographic growth stemming from a favorable economic and social setting, which led to strong demand, thus driving the pre-industrialization process.

LINE OF RESEARCH: (1) New Perspectives on Mudejar Art

THE AUTHOR: Pedro Bel Anzué is an architect with a PhD in Architectural Heritage Restoration from the University of Granada.

The countdown has begun on the second call for proposals to the Territorio Mudéjar fieldwork grants

If you have an idea that can be developed somewhere in Territorio Mudéjar, this is your advance notice about the 2nd call for proposals to the 2020 Gonzalo M. Borrás Gualis grants for projects and fieldwork; the application period begins on the 10th. In the meantime, we have prepared a summary of the key features we are looking for in the proposals and a major update of the contents on our website, with a recap of the results from the 2019 call for proposals in the projects section and a general overview of the towns that belong to our entity.

If you are looking for guidance about the types of proposals you could submit, starting today our 2019 resident researchers will be explaining their proposals and results on our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels.

An explanatory video by the director of Territorio Mudéjar, Victoria Trasobares, is also available, outlining the characteristics of these grants, the requirements and the five lines of research: New perspectives on Mudejar art, Territorio Mudéjar and cultural landscape, management of cultural heritage, communication and dissemination of Mudejar heritage and Mudejar heritage and its role in society as a key element for regional development. At the end of May we will also open up live forums to address any questions you may have.

We will soon be providing all the details about the call for proposals and will keep you up to date on the latest news. We encourage you to participate! See you in Territorio Mudéjar!

You can find us on:

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNlRwwS3qWi6qmHcEa6UQxQ?view_as=subscriber

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/proyectoterritoriomudejar/

INSTAGRAM: @territoriomudejar

LINKEDIN: @territoriomudejar (business profile)

Territorio Mudéjar, main feature of the UNESCO “World Heritage” magazine

Our towns are featured in an extensive article in the first issue of this landmark magazine

The towns and heritage of Territorio Mudéjar are featured in the first issue of “World Heritage” magazine, published by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. This landmark magazine has devoted two pages to Mudejar art in the province of Zaragoza, outlining the key points that make Mudejar a unique, avant-garde style in which we can read the history of Aragon.

The article, which is available in Spanish, English and French, explains how the Mudejar art of Aragon, the architecture of which was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001 due to its “universality, uniqueness and authenticity”, tells the story of our region and reveals an extraordinary rural setting that contrasts with the more ethnographic image commonly associated with villages. It is cultured, refined architecture that, nonetheless, remains close to everyday life and shows us a region that exudes intellectualism and beauty.

Here is the link for you to read the article:

Territorio Mudéjar presents its model at the MOMAr Interreg Europe meeting in Corsica

At this event, we exchanged good practices in managing sustainable rural heritage with a focus on people

Territorio Mudéjar traveled to the French island of Corsica to take part in a meeting of the MOMAr Interreg Europe project*, an initiative led by the Provincial Government of Zaragoza for the purpose of designing new rural heritage management models that foster sustainable development and adapt to the specific features of each region.

There, we exchanged good practices on a highly interesting topic: “Without people, there are no resources: local management exchanges observing efficiency, sustainability and demographic fragility”. This idea is in Territorio Mudéjar’s genes, since we work as a network around heritage resources in the Mudejar field, always closely linked to the towns and their inhabitants. We are convinced that heritage is alive and evolving because it is part of a context that is lived in, urban, and in the midst of people.

Some of the inspirational examples of heritage management that we learned about include the Route of the Romanesque in Germany, the monumental churches and farms in Groningen (the Netherlands), the efforts to preserve traditional Romanian embroidery on blouses in Mehedinti county and, of course, two projects from Aragon: the sustainable networked management of Territorio Mudéjar and promotion of the ancient village of Belchite (Provincial Government of Zaragoza).

Territorio Mudéjar discussed the management of cultural heritage as a possible strategy for the future. We believe that places in which historical, cultural and natural heritage resources are managed in a conscientious and intelligent manner are resilient, distinctive and identity-based. Places for investment, development and future.

Our efforts are based on these foundations, and this is how we have explained it at the meeting, in addition to discussing how our unified, collaborative network for heritage management works, and talking about all aspects of the Mudejar (architecture, urban design, landscape, popular culture and more) and about the projects we are implementing.

Together, we strive to design new strategies for rural heritage management that foster sustainable development and adapt to the unique identity of each region.

Our hosts gave us a first-hand view of how they work at the Corsican Movable Heritage Conservation and Restoration Center (CCRPMC) located at Fort Charlet in the town of #Calvi, which is in charge of safeguarding the knowledge, preservation and promotion of this heritage. There, we discovered their resources and magnificent artistic and religious heritage.

We also traveled to the city of Corte to learn about the project for the transformation of its citadel, built in the 15th century, and its watchtower, which presides over the entire city. In addition, we also visited the temporary exhibitions at the Museum of Corsica.

*MOMAr is the acronym for the project name: Models of Management for Singular Rural Heritage.

More information: https://www.interregeurope.eu/momar/

Rural schools and heritage, a forward-looking partnership

Territorio Mudéjar is participating in the first workshops on rural schools, organized by the Centro de Profesorado (Center for Teachers) in Calatayud.

Rural schools in Aragon have always been a laboratory for rural innovation. Some of the most avant-garde educational initiatives have arisen there, later expanding to other schools in Aragon and even being duplicated across the country. One of the reasons for the success of these rural school projects is that they use the land as a reference for learning, making the environment a necessary element of the curriculum in order to educate with a sense of roots. At Territorio Mudéjar we share and promote these same distinguishing features, so we could not miss the “Escuela rural en clave de futuro” (Rural schools in terms of the future) workshops organized by the Center for Teachers in Calatayud.

We were there today, not only to accompany the teachers and schools from our Territorio Mudéjar (schools in the districts of Aranda, Campo de Daroca and Comunidad de Calatayud), but we also had the opportunity to discuss with some of them how we believe that heritage and education form a perfect partnership for innovation.

At Territorio Mudéjar we are working on several projects related to education: “Escuela rural como inicio del círculo” (Rural schools as the start of a circle) and research and development on educational materials. On the one hand, we aim to introduce ways of working with heritage into rural school curricula and, on the other, we intend to provide materials and resources to schools to help students learn to appreciate the natural and cultural heritage in their towns and to enable them to generate proposals for economic and demographic growth in order to counteract depopulation trends.

More info: http://profesoradocalatayud.catedu.es/escuela-rural-en-clave-de-futuro/

Territorio Mudéjar participates in the first meeting of the European MOMAr project

The aim of this project, which involves regions from five other countries and which will continue until January 2023, is to design new models for managing unique rural heritage.

In conjunction with other entities devoted to heritage management and rural development, Territorio Mudéjar took part in the first meeting with local agents from the province of Zaragoza in the European Interreg MOMAr project –Models of Management for Singular Rural Heritage-, an initiative led by the Provincial Government of Zaragoza for the purpose of designing new rural heritage management models that foster sustainable development and adapt to the specific features of each region.

The MOMAr project has a budget of EUR 1.2 million, and involves five other regional governments from five different European countries. It was approved last year, began in September with an initial meeting in Zaragoza of the six participating administrations, and will continue until January 2023.

The ultimate goal is to create a working document that outlines an action plan for the province of Zaragoza entailing all the stakeholders involved in heritage management and dissemination.

More information: https://www.interregeurope.eu/momar/

Video: https://www.facebook.com/315247192523931/videos/577438746140624/

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

18th anniversary of the designation of Mudejar architecture of Aragon as UNESCO World Heritage

Territorio Mudéjar has drawn up an activity program to commemorate this anniversary, which includes promoting heritage tours, project activities and a live broadcast from Tobed.

Saturday, December 14, is the 18th anniversary of the designation of Mudejar architecture of Aragon as UNESCO World Heritage, and at Territorio Mudéjar we have planned a very special celebration.

We have prepared a schedule of activities for the entire week, saving the grand finale for last:  on the morning of Sunday, the 15th, Cadena SER radio station will broadcast live from the Territorio Mudéjar offices in Tobed a special program called “A vivir Aragón” with our collaboration. We will discuss how to discern and recognize the potential of our heritage and how it can become a driver of sustainable development.

The program will be broadcast live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm from the Museo Mahoma Calahorri, and will be open to the public. We encourage you to join us and learn more about our valuable Mudejar heritage!

We also invite you to accompany us in these other activities:

On Friday, the 13th, we will hold on-site discussions about new uses for heritage spaces. The students doing internships in the Challenge Program, who have spent the past three months studying accessibility to Mudejar heritage and the ways in which technology can help us in this task, will help us with the discussion. At 9:30 am we will be at the tower in Ricla, at 11:30 am at the tower in Romanos and at 12:45 pm, in Longares.

On Saturday, the 14th, the official anniversary, guided tours will be offered of two of our World Heritage sites. Join us for a tour of the collegiate church of Santa María in Calatayud, managed by Asociación Torre Albarrana (11:30 am and 12:30 pm, cloister and tower), and of the church of La Virgen in Tobed, managed by Tobed Mudéjar (11:30 am, leaving from the city hall).

On Sunday, the 15th, you can help us recover cultural heritage in a very simple way. We are collecting photos from your family albums relating to Mudejar heritage in order to reflect on contemporary Mudejar imagery and the ties to the region through family photography. If you would like to contribute your images – we scan them on the spot and give them back – come visit us from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Cervera de la Cañada city hall. More info: https://www.facebook.com/cartografiaidentidadesrurales/