Mudejar Architecture of Aragon

As I mentioned in an earlier post, mudejar architecture is that from after the christian reconquest that was influenced by the islamic art of the Moors. The UN listing covers quite a number of sites and I may decide to see some more later, but as a start I decided to catch a bus to Teruel to see some of the early period mudejar buildings, from the 12th and 13th centuries.

Teruel - tower of St Martin

Teruel - tower of St Martin

Teruel has four church towers and one ceiling that fall under the listing. The towers are built of brick with glazed ceramic additions, mainly in green and blue. 

Teruel - tower of St Martin decoration detail

Teruel - tower of St Martin decoration detail

The wooden ceiling of the catheral is, according to the UN website, “the most interesting artistic achievement of Mudejar art in Aragon”. It has geometric panels and huge cross beams, all painted differently with people, plants, animals and patterns. I tagged along with a group and went up to the balcony to get a close look and it certainly is fabulous. A Google image search on ‘teruel cathedral ceiling’ will bring lots of great photos, much better than the illicit and out of focus one I took.

Teruel - tower of St Peter

Teruel - tower of St Peter

The tower of St Peter was the one I tried to render in Lego, with only limited success – tiny models are much better for structure than surface decoration!

Lego Teruel - tower of St Peter

Lego Teruel - tower of St Peter

Even I can’t make one ceiling and four towers last all day, so I also visited the medieval water cisterns and a museum of religious art in the bishop’s palace. There they had taken a biblical approach to the order of display, starting with Genesis and images of the creation and moving on through the story of Jesus to the resurrection. I particularly like the devils in church art – there are usually good ones in paintings of St Michael. I may however have seen enough gold monstrances to last a lifetime.

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