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Zaragoza: Excursions

Die Route of Mudejar-Style
Mudejar-style, which is common in all Spain, but specially in Zaragoza and surroundings, is the work of Christian architects after the reconquest of Spain from the Moors. Moorish influences anyhow are evident.

Moving from Zaragoza towards South, you arrive to the province's second-largest town, Calatayud, at a distance of 86 kilometers. It has a very old history, was called in the Roman epoch Bibilis and Calat-Ajub by Moors. Being located in beautiful landscape, this town impresses the visitor with its numerous Mudejar towers, steeply inclined streets and many great buildings:

The fortress Castillo de Ayud, with interesting octagonal towers, the Colegiata del Santo Sepulcro, of the order "Caballeros del Santo Sepulcro", with important works of art in its interior, the Colegiata de Santa María, and the picturesque districts Morería and Judería, the old Moorish and Jewish quarters, respectively. Also the Museum of Holy Arts and the Town Museum are worth a visit.

At a distance of just a few kilometers, close to Nuevalos, there is the 12th century Monastery de Piedra, located in a beautiful natural preserve with waterfalls and small lakes.
The Route of Moncayo
In Ebro valley, at 43 kilometers from Zaragoza, is located the old-iberian settlement Bursao, with remains of the first inhabitants of Spain. The closest village, Borja, is the center of an important vinicultural region and has a few interesting monuments as well, as the ruins of a medieval fortress, a 15th century Mudejar-monastery and the highly individual "Casa de las Conchas", the "shell-house".

7 kilometers from Borja there is the Veruela Monastery, which was founded in 1146 and is surrounded by a fortress. At the foot of Moncayo, the highest mountain of the province, there is another monastery that is worth a visit, Monasterio de la Virgen del Moncayo.

The next station is Tarazona, Photo with very old history as well: it was populated already by Celts.

Tarazona's bullring, Plaza de Toros, of 18th century, is a real curiosity: it is located in the middle of an ocatagonal complex of dwelling houses. Other remarkable buildings are the Town-Hall, with a frieze that shows King Carlos III marching into the town, the Cathedral of 13th century, the church Iglesia de la Magdalena and the Archiepiscopal Palais.
The Route of Romanesque Style
Also Romanesque style, which exists here in a particular form, the so-called Románico Aragonés, has left important traces in this region.

Passing Alcalá del Ebro and Tauste, Photo you arrive to Ejea de los Caballeros, Photo with its interesting fortificated church of 13th century.

Uncastillo (translated literally that means "a fortress") indeed has an impressive medieval fortress to offer, being located on a high rock over the town. But there are other monuments too: Santa Maria la Mayor, one of the best conserved Romanesque churches in Spain; San Juan, a very impressive church that is built inside of a rock; and the ruins of Roman settlement Bañales, with its aqueductus, thermal spa and parts of the Forum being conserved. Very close to it there are the remains of an old-iberian settlement.

24 kilometer from Uncastillo is located Sos del Rey Católico, Photo another town which seems to be a medieval museum. It is surrounded by impressive town-walls with seven doors, and has a fortress that is well worth seeing. When you walk through its picturesque narrow lanes you may think that time really has stood still here for 700 years.

Finally you arrive to Yesa, in a great landscape with an impressive storage lake, known as "Lago de los Pirineos".
The Route of Wine
Cariñena is the home of the well-known wine D.O. Cariñena. Apart of offering the possibility to try this great drink at the place where it is produced, this small town is worth a visit also for its colossal town-walls, its town-hall in typical aragonesian style of 16th century, and its fortificated baroque-church.

The church Santuario de Nuestra Señora de las Lagunas, at 7 kilometers from Cariñena, is certainly one of the most beautiful baroque buildings in all the region. In Fuentetodos you may visit the birth-place of great artist Goya.

Daroca is enclosed by town-walls of 4 kilometers length, with beautiful doors you have to pass still today to enter the town. Its skyline, with at least 100 towers in Arabian style, is truly breath-taking.
Ebro Valley
Also along Ebro river there are some highly interesting places:

Escatrón and Sástago, with its Monastery de Rueda, a great building of the transition period from Romanesque to Gothic style, with a splendid Byzantine chapter-house.

Caspe is known for its important prehistorical findings. It also has a monastery of 13th century.

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