Aragon Region

Aragon region...an inland region with a strong personality

 

Aragon region begins in the Pyrenees, its high mountains are home to some of the most popular ski resorts in Spain, Candanchu, Astún, Formigal, Panticosa and Cerler among others.  Also among its mountains lies one of the oldest and most beautiful national parks of the Peninsula,Aragon-Spain-Ordesa-Valley Ordesa National Park.  Not far from there, in the Middle Ages, pilgrims walked to Santiago de Compostela crossing the Pyrenees from France arriving at Jaca and heading to Navarra to join the pilgrims coming from Roncesvalles.

Aragon has a very rich history, the story of a small mountainous kingdom which grew towards the south as its victories against the Muslim armies increased.  There is nothing like approaching from  Huesca, the northern capital of Aragon, the castle of Loarre or the medieval town of Ainsa to experience some of Aragon's historic past.  Spain is the daughter of Aragon as the marriage of King Fernando of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castille gave way in the late 15th century to the Spain we know today.

The river Ebro, the largest river in Spain, divides Aragon in two.  There, in the middle, receiving the visit of the river is Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, and one of the most populous cities in Spain.  To the south lies Teruel, a sparsely populated and isolated province.  Las Torres de San Martín and San Salvador in Teruel are a wonderful expression of a unique art, Mudejar art, created by Arab artists who lent their services to the Christian kings that conquered their cities.  Throughout Aragon you will find stunning churches and palaces of Moorish descent. Not far away from Teruel is Albarracín a splendid medieval town with a Moorish flair.

Aragon-Spain-LoarreAragon's regions main tourist destinations are the medieval towns rather than its bigger cities.  In addition to the previously mentioned Ainsa in Huesca and Albarracín in Teruel,  is Sos del Rey Católico with its gorgeous Parador and Daroca in the province of Zaragoza.  Close to Daroca is the Gallocanta lake, where in early November more than 30,000 cranes from Northern Europe meet to spend the winter in the region of Extremadura.  One of the major events in European nature.

The festivals and fiestas celebrated in the Aragon region are very popular throughout Spain, the most important of these being the feast de la Virgen del Pilar (Our Lady of Pilar) in Zaragoza.  Devotion to the Virgen, bullfights and regional dances, jotas, are the main characters.  As in the rest of Spain, fiestas and religion are closely intertwined always giving way to major festivities on the streets of its cities, towns and villages.  A good example is the famous tamorrada of Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrated in Calanda, where the town's people play their drums till their hands are bloodied.

Aragon region, less known that other Spanish regions, provides travelers a good opportunity to explore an inland area with a strong personality and full of interesting attractions.

 

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