A bird’s eye view of Territorio Mudéjar

To walk through our villages and contemplate them on high, from a bird’s eye view, is one of the luxuries offered by the turreted constructions that mark out the Mudejar villages, genuine and magnetic structures that define the silhouette of our Mudejar Territory.

Today we share with you a new publication in our series of itineraries that you can find in the magazine La Magia de Viajar (The Magic of Travelling).

On this route, as well as admiring the exceptional exterior decoration of the towers, we will delve into their structural evolution, a paradigm of the fusion between Islamic and Christian building traditions.

Thus, we will find three groups of Mudejar towers: of Hispano-Muslim structure, of Christian structure and of mixed structure, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries. These architectural elements tell us part of the history of the towns on which they stand.

This route of Mudejar towers offers us the experience of climbing up to the highest part of some of them to understand from on high the context surrounding the Mudejar, the urbanism of the towns, the landscape and even the communications that defined the evolution of Mudejar architecture.

In addition, we have intervened in other sections in which we have spoken about one of our research stays on models of civil heritage management, we have spoken about the initiative Rural school in motion and the Challenge programme as training in the professionalisation of heritage.

Students of the European UNITA programme in Territorio Mudéjar

Today we introduce you to Andrea, an International Cooperation student from the University of Turin who is doing her internship at Territorio Mudéjar thanks to the European programme UNITA- Rural Mobility.

“I decided to do my internship with Territorio Mudéjar because I would like to specialise in local development in relation to cultural heritage management and sustainable tourism”, Andrea explains. And then adds: “I hope that through this experience I will be able to bring useful strategies for Italian heritage management and establish future relationships”.

At the moment she lives and works in Tobed, together with the students of the Challenge project of the University of Zaragoza.

Territorio Mudéjar Routes: the keys to a style, the origins

Through La magia de viajar por Aragón (The magic of travelling in Aragon) we have invited you in past articles to take a new look to recognise the results of the rich coexistence of cultures on an urban level.

Now we present a route through towns in Territorio Mudéjar which, through its complex monumentality ascribed to different historical styles, allows us to understand the origins of the style, from the transition from fully Western languages to a new language in which the Islamic building tradition will gradually gain ground, with its particular technical solutions, its praised efficiency and an attractive and captivating aesthetic.

The route follows the chronology of the stylistic witnesses rather than the logic of the journey itself, so we encourage you to plan your visit calmly, enjoying the route and the magnificent landscape in which all these localities are located.

In this article we describe examples of Mudejar architecture in Zuera, Daroca, Calatayud, Tauste, Alagón and La Almunia de Doña Godina.

Four fieldwork grants awarded

Territorio Mudéjar, the network of 37 municipalities promoted by the Council of Zaragoza that works to conserve and promote Mudejar art in the province, has awarded four fieldwork grants for the study, the development of projects and the management of the natural and heritage resources of its member towns.

This is the third call for applications for the stays, which bear the name of Gonzalo M. Borrás Gualis as a tribute to the distinguished professor and expert on Mudejar art. Each one of them is endowed with 6,000 euros and will allow the development of responsible, sustainable and innovative research projects with a direct impact on the rural environment, favouring its visibility and knowledge.

The projects selected include projects in fields such as the creation of educational resources for primary and secondary schools, the study of Mudejar geometry in order to have a collection of images, the study of Mudejar culture in the performing arts and the conservation of popular architecture understood from the point of view of urban planning in Mudejar villages.

The aim of these stays is to favour the understanding of the rural territory from its Mudejar identity through innovative views that have a positive impact on the villages and that promote a network of work on the possibilities offered by the resources of the territory and collaborative and interdisciplinary work. In addition, specifically, the aim is to improve the knowledge of the Mudejar as a World Heritage Site and the benefits it brings as an international brand recognised by UNESCO.

The projects one by one:

1- Educational Mudejar. This project sets out the strategic lines of an educational material for primary and secondary school pupils to help them interpret the Mudejar through a combination of illustrations and real images and to learn to value this rich legacy. The resources, the result of the work process, will be available on the Territorio Mudéjar website, will be accessible through all types of devices and will have an attractive, visual and dynamic presentation. The online publication will be complemented with routes based on maps and with games adapted to the students’ level This tool will be available for use both in the classroom context and at home. The project will be developed by the cultural management professional Myriam Monterde, the audiovisual producer and scriptwriter José Manuel Herráiz and the illustrator David Guirao.

2- The Mudejar and Euclidean geometry or plane geometry. This project deals with the plastic study of the Aragonese Mudejar in the area of Territorio Mudéjar and, by extension, in the province of Zaragoza. The project will make it possible to collect and study Mudejar layouts, studying them in depth and with geometric rigour. It will also establish similarities between them or with others outside the working area. In total, around 50 graphic works will be produced, combining diverse technical exercises in brick with raised edges, ties, strapwork and round windows with interior and exterior architectural views. The result is a graphic archive never before developed which allows Territorio Mudéjar to have a collection of Mudéjar images for subsequent publications. The project will be carried out by the illustrator Chema Agustín.

3- Scenic Mudejar. Explores Mudejar art in the stage arts: music, dance and minstrelsy. It seeks to outline strategies in the territory that allow for the promotion of the Mudejar identity of the territory and to strengthen its professional networks through research, creation and artistic dissemination in the field of musical and performative art. It also aims to design actions that will enable the programming of future stage events in the region. The project is based on a concept of heritage that encompasses traditions, customs and other artistic expressions that form part of the collective memory. The project is being developed by the documentation specialist María Amor Borque and the performing arts specialist Serge Dambrine.

4- Preventive urbanism: Guidelines and tools for the protection of traditional architecture in Mudejar towns from the perspective of urban planning. This fieldwork stay proposes an analysis and comparative study of the urban planning regulations governing architectural interventions in various towns of Territorio Mudéjar, providing an overview of the degree of protection of traditional architecture derived from planning, identifying areas for improvement and proposing a framework document that can be used by both private promoters and municipal technicians to improve the compatibility of interventions in traditional constructions. This project continues the research on vernacular architecture initiated in the previous stays and will be developed by architect Laura Villacampa with the advice of lawyer Ignacio Pérez Bailón and architect Javier Gómez Patrocinio.

Guided routes to discover the Mudejar heritage of the province of Zaragoza begin

This autumn, Territorio Mudéjar resumes its guided tours to discover the Mudejar heritage of the province of Zaragoza in its broadest sense – monuments, urbanism, landscape, trades… – always with scientific rigour and hand in hand with professionals. The initiative “Mudejar Territory: a journey to beauty”, promoted together with the Council of Zaragoza, includes 12 routes divided into five themes: cultural fusion, the origins of the artistic style, the towers and the fortress churches. It is a journey back in time through an artistic style that was present from the 13th to the 16th century and which left a legacy that has earned some of its monuments the UNESCO World Heritage designation.

The first routes begin in September:

  • The Mudejars: Mestizo Land and borderland: one through Magallón, Torrellas and Fréscano and another through Saviñán, Mesones de Isuela and La Almunia de Doña Godina. They will show how the period of fusion between the Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures is still clearly reflected today in the country houses, urbanism and monuments of these towns.
  • Keys to a style: towers. You will visit Romanos, Villarreal de Hueva, Mainar and Villar de los Navarros. These routes immerse visitors in the origins of the style and explain how the Islamic tradition gradually gained ground, with its particular technical solutions, quality and attractive and captivating aesthetics. Specifically, these routes will visit the Mudejar towers, which characterise the ‘skyline’ of the territory and are one of the most exceptional representations of this style.
  • The Mudejar space: Tobed, Maluenda and Morata de Jiloca. This is a route through some of the most beautiful fortress-churches, temples of a clearly defensive style, with privileged locations, framed in beautiful country houses and integrated into the landscape.

The tours will continue in November and December.

The activities are free of charge and those interested should make a reservation in advance on the website www.territoriomudejar.es by calling 876 634 125 or by emailing rutas@territoriomudejar.es.

This initiative is part of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the declaration of the Mudejar of the province of Zaragoza as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

All the information at www.territoriomudejar.es/category/proyectos/rutas/