The Ebro Aragones: Novillas - Fayon. Information about Aragon. Spain

The Ebro Aragones: Novillas - Fayon. Aragon, as it is. Spain

Aragon in English

The Ebro as it passes through Aragon can be divided into four sections of interest: from Novillas to Utebo, Zaragoza as the capital of the Ebro Valley, Bajo Aragón and from the Monastery of Rueda to Fayón.


When the Ebro enters Aragon through Novillas it is already decidedly Mudejar, presaging, without a doubt, the Arabian grandeur of the riverside palace of La Aljaferia in Zaragoza.
The bare and fertile banks of the Iberian tributaries of the Aragonese Ebro were cultivated with care and intensity by the Arabs and their reconquest by the Christians demanded an arduous effort at the same time that it meant, to a large extent, their ruin for a long time.
The first and most The most important commandment of the Order of the Temple in the entire middle valley of the river, with extensive control over the lands that the warrior-monks were incorporating into the nascent Kingdom of Aragon. The Templar command of Novillas gradually lost its power in favor of another military order, that of San Juan de Jerusalem, of whose power some vestiges remain today in the town, such as a beautiful palace of the Aragonese Renaissance. The local church is neoclassical in style, with interesting altarpieces from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Pedrola and Alcalá de Ebro

In the direction of Zaragoza, about 25 kilometers away, on the left is the local road that leads to Pedrola and Alcalá de Ebro and, on the other side of the river, to the salinas de Remolinos. This is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting stretches of the Aragonese river, given that this entire area is linked to the memory of Cervantes -who placed his Insula Barataria near Alcalá de Ebro- and to the lordship of the Luna and Villahermosa, represented in the stately magnificence of the ducal palace of the latter in Pedrola.
parish church of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles in Pedrola were declared a historic-artistic complex. The ducal palace, whose oldest part dates from the first half of the 16th century, preserves the Renaissance character of the patio and the façade, although the building underwent several Baroque and Neoclassical restructurings. Through a very elegant portal, one accesses the noble floor of the palace, where the ducal family keeps works of art of the highest value and antiquity, outstanding, among all, works by Goya, Sorolla, Bayeu, etc. as well as the gallery of portraits of the Lunas and the Villahermosas, the work of the flamenco artist Roland de Mois.

For its part, the parish church dates from the end of the 15th century, although its primitive construction could have been much earlier. The fourth Duke of Villahermosa -builder of the palace- completed the works in the second half of the 16th century at the time that his wife, the one known as the Santa Duchess, ordered the construction of the curious passage that leads from the upper part of the palace to one of the chapels of the temple, above the surrounding houses.
In the 18th century, Juan de Villanueva carried out a new expansion of the temple, then the current transept was built. The temple houses interesting altarpieces and pieces of gold and silverware, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

A short distance from Pedrola, already in the Ebro, is Alcalá in the vicinity of which is one of the numerous fluvial islands that the Ebro has been weaving since the very moment it left the Central Depression. In it, critics and historians have believed they saw the Insula Barataria, ephemerally governed by the good Sancho Panza. This thesis of the Quixotists is based on the almost certain stay of Miguel de Cervantes in the area, where, probably, he would have spent a few days in the ducal palace of the Villahermosa de Pedrola family.


On the other side of the Ebro, sheltered by a hill facing the river, is Remolinos, an old encomienda of the Hospitallers and famous for some extremely rich rock salt mines. Remolinos is one of the numerous salt deposits in the Ebro Valley -which even reach Cardona- product of the marine past of the great Eocene lake that occupied the collapse of the great Ebro Massif. Tradition wants to believe that Hannibal himself He supplied himself with salt from Remolinos for his army, but it was with the Romans that the mines began to be intensively exploited. With the Austrians, the mine was of real ownership and, before that, there were some conflicts between the Church and the military orders that collaborated in the Reconquest for the domain and control of the fruit of the aforementioned mines.

The parochial church of San Juan Bautista, neoclassical in style -it was built around 1780- has on the pendentives four canvases painted by the Aragonese Francisco de Goya y Lucientes and representing Saint Gregory, Saint Jerome, Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine. At the top of the town stands the hermitage of Santo Cristo de la Cueva, which houses a wood carving dated around the end of the 14th century.


Once again heading towards Zaragoza, on one side or the other of the Ebro -from Remolinos it is more convenient to do it along the Tauste/Alagón regional road- cross the river again at Alagón, the old Alauona, enclave of maximum eastern penetration of the Basques along the banks of the Ebro. Sertorio had its winter quarters in Alagón, Castra Aelia, in his war against Pompeius and was an important strategic enclave for Rome in its effort to control the passage from the Ebro Valley to the Meseta along the course of the Jalón.

Located at the foot of the Castellar hills -an important supply center for firewood and coal during the High Middle Ages- it played a decisive role as a Christian vanguard in the siege and capture of Zaragoza, and it is tradition that the Virgin appeared in this place to the Aragonese king Alfonso I the Battler. Alagón was an important commercial center throughout the Late Middle Ages and witnessed relevant historical events, such as the betrothal of Pedro IV the Ceremonious with Doña María de Navarra or, previously, the place of captivity of Queen Doña Urraca.

The laying and consolidation of the Imperial Canal of Aragon in the 17th century was an important boost to the rich agriculture of the area, which reached its peak during the first half of this century with the start-up of a buoyant industry of beet processing, today practically parked due to the crisis in the sector, although the area has partly overcome the setback through the installation in its vicinity of the General Motors automobile factory.
However, and judging by its capital monuments, the splendor of local life must have revolved around the 14th-16th centuries, coinciding with the high point of Mudejar art in the area. Of Mudejar origin, although masked by later additions over time, it is the parish church of San Pedro, begun in the first half of the 14th century. Its most unequivocally Mudejar element is the tower, with an octagonal base, profusely decorated in its central section with beautiful highlighted brick motifs forming interlocking arches and various geometric figures. In reality, it is about two towers, one surrounding the other inside, with the unmistakable stamp of the Arab minarets of the time. The temple has a single nave, with ribbed vaults and a pentagonal apse, and on its sides, already in modern times, the chapels of the Virgen del Carmen and Santo Cristo were opened -this one, with an interesting altarpiece from the last third of the century. XV- and the baroque ones of San Antón and Santa Ana, with a carving of the saint, the first, from the XV century. The main altarpiece is made of gilt and polychrome wood and dates from the mid-16th century.

The other two local monuments of interest are the churches of San Antonio and San Juan Bautista. The first of them is from the first half of the 18th century, built by the Jesuits after the foundation of their school in the town. It has two interesting altarpieces in the arms of the transept, from the second half of the 18th century and a beautiful general decoration in the Recóco style. For its part, the church of San Juan Bautista retains its essential 18th century fabric, but its most notable ornamental furniture elements were transferred to other Aragonese churches due to the 19th century confiscations.

The last of the monuments worth mentioning is located outside the town, on the heights of El Castellar. The hermitage of the Virgen del Castillo preserves very few of its primitive elements due to having suffered great damage during the War of Independence -which had a special virulence in these places- but it still houses a beautiful carving of the titular virgin of the hermitage, dated around the year 1300.

From Alagón to Zaragoza, the Ebro is dotted with eminently agricultural towns that still preserve, more or less alive, the memory of the wise and patient Arab and Moorish cultivators of their fertile orchards. The unmistakable trace of those almost nine centuries of predominance of Arab culture is still traced today in the beautiful Mudejar churches of the area.

Torres de Berrellén

It was the birthplace of the distinguished pedagogue of deaf-mutes Juan Pablo Bonet and whose Town Hall is located in a beautiful palace belonging to the Dukes of Villahermosa, from the 17th century, it has, as the neighboring town of Pinseque, a beautiful Mudejar tower.


However, the most singular, complex and profoundly Arab is that of Utebo, an authentic minaret where, in the middle of the 20th century, one would not be surprised to hear the song of the muezzin called to pray at sunset. Although started years before, the work was completed by Alonso de Lesnes in 1544.

You can follow the navigation of the Ebro in Zaragoza capital of the Ebro Valley, Bajo Aragón and from the Monastery of Rueda to Fayón.

Extracted from the book: Guide to travel along the Ebro.
© José Manuel Marcuello Calvin

Ample your information on Aragon

If you want to extend your information on Aragon you can begin crossing another interesting route is the Mudejar, Patrimony of the Humanity, also you can extend your cultural knowledge on Aragon examining its municipal and institutional heraldry without forgetting, of course, some of its emblematics figures as Saint George Pattern of Aragon also book of Aragon.

Also Aragon enjoys a diverse and varied Nature where passing by plants, animals or landscapes we can arrive at a fantastic bestiario that lives in its monuments.

The information will not be complete without a stroll by its three provinces: Zaragoza, Teruel and Huesca and his shines, with shutdown in some of its spectacular landscapes like Ordesa, the Moncayo or by opposition the Ebro.

Also you can dedicarte to the intangible ones: from the legend compilation that also does to universal Aragon you can persecute the presence of del Santo Grial in Aragon.

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The Ebro Aragones: Novillas - Fayon. Ebro, river, Aragon, Novillas, Remolinos, Pedrola, Zaragoza, Fayon, Shire, County boundaries, Region. Comarca, Situation, map, Province Zaragoza

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