From the Montes Universales to the Pyrenees, the land of Aragón lives in a tension between mountains and plains. A region whose soul emerged in the north and spread to the far reaches of the Mediterranean. This gave rise to a mentality of its own that can still be perceived in the community that shares its name with the ancient kingdom. Surroundings where exciting stories and the purest nature go hand in hand inhabit the whole territory. These 9 spots of Aragón are clear demonstrations of the huge wealth that characterises this part of Spain.
The Aragón Subordán flows through the valley of Hecho, leaving some of the most dreamlike pictures of the Huesca Pyrenees. Among them, almost at the source and next to France, shines the Aguas Tuertas valley. To get there you have to pass through, or next to, such beautiful places as the Oza forest, the castle of Acher, the Boca del Infierno (Hell’s Mouth) or the Corona de los Muertos (Crown of the Dead). However, at the end of this ascent awaits a natural wonder.
Hanging high above, Aguas Tuertas lives up to its name and is travelled by the endless meanders of the Aragón Subordán. The size of the landscape is magnified by the lack of tall vegetation. Grass predominates between the two heights that flank the valley. At the beginning, as you enter, you can see the remains of a dolmen, which proves that it was sacred to the people of another era. At the end, there is a route that leads to the beautiful Estanés lake. In any case, a visual experience that will belittle anyone.
The fact that it is a natural park does not mean that the Garden of the Monasterio de Piedra is the fruit of nature. At least if you take for granted the questionable licence that what man does is unrelated to it, of course. A masterpiece by Juan Federico Muntadas, this space in the province of Zaragoza is a purely romantic creation in which human intervention is so perfect that it does not seem artificial. The combination of landscaping and the action of the carbonated river Piedra turned a beautiful spot into one of the most beautiful in Europe.
The fact that it is always taken as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain is not the result of cliché. The ochre and the Middle Ages become elegant in a town that is always elongated. It is one of the places of Aragon with the most alternative spots. Whether it is its cathedral, its towers, its Muslim fortress or its peculiar Christian walls. As difficult as it may seem, everything looks great in this town.
Today flooded by the Canelles reservoir, the narrow pass of Monrebey or Mont-Rebei marks the border between Huesca and Lérida. A strategic pass, a key separation caused by the Noguera Ribagorzana, and an ideal place for a getaway. On the Huesca side, several things stand out, such as the Montfalcó footbridges. However, special mention should be made of two hermitages that defy heights. On the one hand, the hermitage of new Señora del Congosto. Simple to the extreme, faithful to its Romanesque style, it was built in the 11th century with later modifications. It is closely associated with the tower of Chiriveta, linked to the Aragonese Templars.
Further south there is a duel in height, the hermitage of Santa Quiteria and San Bonifacio. It is a temple that was once a fortress. It is rather rough, three of its sides face the emptiness, and you have to enter from the north by climbing a small staircase. A game of balances that makes it almost incredible to believe that it was created in the 11th century. But it was. The result is a challenge for those with vertigo. A place that had to be in our 9 spots of Aragón.
The desert between Huesca and Zaragoza, through which the Greenwich Meridian passes, makes for a scene that is curious to say the least. The Monegros make its dry ochre colours its most attractive feature. This colour sets a general tone that is completed with strange rock formations. Like something out of a surrealist painting, a lysergic experience even, the gorges rise up in the middle of nowhere. There are several that stand out, such as the Pedregales or the Cobeta. But there are many more and all of them invite you to get lost in their eroded complexity.
Teruel in general and its capital in particular have extraordinary examples of Mudejar architecture. Also of the revisions of it that emerged as the centuries passed. A clear example is the Escalinata de Teruel. A corner of Aragon that accurately sums up the city where it is located. Although it arose from a practical necessity, to save a height to connect the centre and the train station, it became a sort of symbol. Thus, it exhibits the history of the Lovers of Teruel thanks to a work by Aniceto Marinas. Brick, ceramics and bright colours do the rest.
Little can be added to the much that has been written about these. Individually, they are extraordinary, and together they tell the story of a city. Jaca has always been a guardian of the north, a passage for pilgrims who spread foreign trends throughout Spain. Its cathedral, pure and Romanesque, tells the story. Just look at it and the art lessons learnt in secondary school make sense. Meanwhile, its pentagonal fortress is a rara avis in Europe. Not because there weren’t many of these Italianate-style masses on the continent, but because it remains fully preserved. A perfect silhouette with no bastions cut down, as it happened to its sister in Pamplona. A must in these 9 spots of Aragón.
Any list would have to include the Basílica del Pilar or the Aljafería. There is no doubt about the world fame of these buildings. Therefore, one can only encourage to visit them and get lost in the capital of the Ebro. However, once visited, there is a bizarre alternative that can also be combined with a tour of the Galachos. This is the first mummy museum in Spain, located in Quinto. The result of the custom of burying people inside churches, which was widespread until less than two centuries ago, it allows you to see spectacularly preserved bodies thanks to the particular conditions of the subsoil of the temple.
It is time to go back to Teruel to close the list. Nine are not enough to sum up the whole of Aragon. We could have included Broto, San Juan de la Peña, Sos, Belchite, Calaceite, Santa Elena in Biescas and many more. However, the final touch is provided by another border area, the Franja. A village that lives between two languages and has its own flavour. Valderrobles, a town watered by the Matarraña. Ancient, in the surrounding area there are remains from the Iberian period. Since the Middle Ages, centuries have contributed drops of heritage reflected in places such as Santa María la Mayor or the Valderrobles castle. All in all, one of the most beautiful villages in the country. These 9 spots of Aragón won’t leave anyone untouched.
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