I knew that together with Teruel and Calatayud, Tarazona is one of the best Mudejar examples in Aragon. But, in an afternoon I discovered it is not only a city with a surprising and varied architecture, but also a place with soul, one of those that surround you and make you want to know more.
Set in the extreme west of Aragon, on an ancient strategic cross road to Navarra, Castilla y León and La Rioja, Tarazona has been since its remote celtic-iberian origins an open city, multicultural, where Jews, Moors and Christians lived together peacefully. This remarkable diversity, impressed like a seal on its character, makes it irresistibly welcoming and mysterious at the same time.
Sometimes dark and silent, others lively and full of light, Tarazona, as if it wanted to tell its own long history, changes at every step. From a distance it seems imposing, squeezed on a gentle hill looking at the sun and the River Queiles. The cathedral is also imposing, a church begun in the XII in gothic style, to which has been added over time a Mudejar dome and a spectacular Mudejar tower.
The old Bullring happens to be one of the most remarkable in Spain. Built at the end of the XVIII century, its octagonal shape has been surrounded from the first moment by dwellings which even today are inhabited. And after crossing the river, as soon as you start to go up the streets which are in shadows because of their narrowness, the magic of the disorganised architecture of the Barrio Alto traps you, with its older walls built on the site of even older walls, the Bishop’s Palace on top of the Moorish foundations of La Zuda, remains of medieval walls in the middle of the village, the untouched Jewish quarter with its hanging houses, the quarter of Cinto, where which they say is the origin of the city.
On the top of the knoll, after discovering more churches, exquisite towers and buildings in the Mudejar style, the Town Hall dazzles, a renaissance building whose profusely decorated façade has been converted into a symbol and image of the city.