Mudejar Architecture in Aragon (World Heritage)

By | August 11, 2021

The world heritage in Teruel includes the three brick towers of the churches of El Salvador, San Martín and San Pedro as well as the bell tower and the artesonado ceiling of the cathedral from the 13th century. They are outstanding examples of the Mudejar style, which combines Gothic and Islamic elements and which flourished in the 14th century. Characteristic elements for him are horseshoe-shaped arches, rich decoration and sculpted brickwork.e of the most beautiful medieval cities in Spain. The outstanding building is the 2500 m long, completely preserved city wall from the 11th to 14th centuries with 88 towers and nine city gates. The Gothic cathedral was integrated into the fortification. According to ehealthfacts, it is one of the oldest cathedrals in Spain. The city also has numerous Romanesque churches.

Mudejar architecture in Aragon: facts

Official title: Mudejar architecture in the Aragon region
Cultural monument: Cathedral (formerly Collegiate Church of Santa María de Mediavilla), Church of San Pedro, Church of San Martín, Church of El Salvador
Continent: Europe
Country: Spain, Aragon
Location: Teruel on the Río Turia, between Zaragoza and Valencia, nicknames “Teruel Mudéjar” and “Ciudad de los Amantes” (“City of Lovers”)
Appointment: 1986
Meaning: characteristic Mudejar architecture of the 12th / 13th centuries Century to 15th century, adaptation of the structures and the decoration of the Almohad minarets to the function of a Christian church

Mudejar Architecture in Aragon: History

1171 Conquest of Teruel by Alfonso II.
Beginning of the 13th century Death of the “lovers of Teruel”
1257 Tower of the Church of Santa María de Mediavilla
1277-1315 El Salvador Church
1315/16 Bell tower of the Church of San Martín
1319-92 Construction of the San Pedro Church
1502 Closure of the last mosque
1555 Discovery of the mummies of the “Lovers of Teruel” in the chapel of San Cosme y San Damián
1587 Santa María de Mediavilla raised to the cathedral
Winter 1937/38 in the Spanish civil war “Battle of Teruel”, 30,000 dead in 70 days

Trinkets over tiled roofs

For Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, the great Spanish scholar, there was no doubt centuries later: “The Mudejar style is the only independent Spanish architectural style that makes us proud.” The pride of the Spanish Christians and the creative spirit of the Moorish artists and craftsmen have been united ever since Late Middle Ages on the old town hill of Teruel, in the cathedral founded as the Church of Santa María de Mediavilla as well as the fortified churches El Salvador, San Pedro and San Martín with their towers designed in Mudejar style.

After 123 steps you are still a little short of breath, but the visitor’s gaze immediately wanders from the roofed platform of the Church of El Salvador between the arcades over the South Aragonese wasteland, the hills of the Sierra de Camarena, the tiled roofs and – in the best sense of the word Word – outstanding Mudejar jewels in the manageable old town. The Moors left the richly decorated vaulted ceiling of the cathedral as an important testimony to their art behind outer walls.

Under the sign of the cross and the influences of Islamic traditions, Muslim builders who were not known by name refined their unique architecture and decoration, the Mudejar style, after the Christian reconquest of Teruel in the 12th century. Artisans and architects, whose names have vanished in the dust of history, created houses of worship from solid, golden-yellow brick masonry and, like their mosques and palaces, adorned them with horseshoe-shaped window arches and rich ornaments. The arrangement of the bricks in ears and rhombuses and a network of repeating, lobed and intersecting arches are essential elements of the ornamental Mudéjar decor. Characteristic of the church towers is the splendor of their facades with inlaid black, green and silver-white ceramic tiles, whose origin and color harmony point to Islamic Cordoba forerunners. All the ornaments and the imaginative collages of tile decorations liberate the towers from their bulky defensive character and give them a certain lightness, an almost playful elegance.

It was the Aragonese special rights that ensured that the Moors would remain under Christian rule until the end of the 15th century. In this way, the Moorish master builders were able to enrich the architecture of Teruel – longer than elsewhere – whose influences spread over the independent Aragonese kingdom. “Teruel gave Aragon more than Teruel received from Aragon,” notes contemporary art historian Gonzalo Borras Gualis. The chapter of the Moors in Teruel ended in 1493 with the closure of the great mosque and a few years later with each individual’s choice between compulsory baptism and emigration.

The name Teruels is not only associated with Moorish architecture, but also with a touching legend. It tells of the tragic fate of Isabel de Segura and Juan Diego Martínez de Marcilla, the “lovers of Teruel”. The family of the beautiful Isabel had rejected poor Juan’s courtship for the daughter’s favor and gave him five years to earn riches. Juan went to war, then returned home wealthy and learned that Isabel had married someone else. Diego, still in love, entered Isabel’s room and asked her for a kiss. The mistress, however, refused him. The young man died of pain and heartache. Isabel also appeared at the funeral mass in the church of San Pedro, kissed the deceased and sank down dead.

The mausoleum with a couple made of alabaster who tried in vain to shake hands commemorates the “Lovers of Teruel” found in the chapel of San Cosme y San Damián more than three centuries after their death. Two mummies rest in glass coffins under the sculpture. It remains to be seen whether these are really the unhappy lovers, of whom it says in a mocking two-line: “Los amantes de Teruel / tonta ella, tonto él” (“the lovers of Teruel / stupid she, stupid he”).

Mudejar Architecture in Aragon (World Heritage)