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Aragón

Aragón is one of the autonomous regions in Spain. It lies in the northwest of the country. Its capital is Zaragoza and the region has a population of 1.3 million inhabitants.

The kingdom of Aragón was founded around 800. In 1035 Count Ramiro I was crowned the first king of Aragón. In the following centuries the kings of Aragón conquered much of eastern Spain and parts of the Mediterranean. In the 15th century, Ferdinand III married Isabella of Castile and the union between the two kingdoms was the cradle of present Spain.

The climate of Aragón is Mediterranean influenced by a continental climate. Summers can be quite hot; however, the winters are much colder than in the rest of Spain.

Aragónís Pyrenees are very impressive with its high peaks, deep canyons, dense forests and spectacular waterfalls. The highest mountain is the Aneto with 3,404 meters. The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park has a beautiful scenery and varied wildlife. The park is one of the last places of refuge for birds of prey and there are many beautiful butterflies in the summer. The area is a paradise for skiers in winter.

Romanesque churches and typical Pyrenean villages can be found in the mountain valleys of Hecho, Tena and Benasque. The oldest Romanesque cathedral in Spain is in Jaca in the Huesca province.

One of the most famous castles is the Loarre castle in the Mallos de Riglos in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

The capital Zaragoza has many historic buildings including the Cathedral Basilica del Pilar in Baroque style from the 17th century. There are also many museums and Roman excavations to explore.

Huesca also has many historic buildings including the cathedral from the 13th century. The tower and the cloister date from the 15th century. The monastery of San Pedro el Viejo was built between 1100 and 1240 and is one of the oldest Romanesque buildings. Part of it was rebuilt in the 17th century, but the cloister dates from 1140. Next to the cathedral is the Diocesano museum with a great collection of frescoes and altarpieces.

In Teruel there are many Mudéjar buildings of which the cathedral Santa Maria and the towers of the churches El Salvador, San Martin and San Pedro are fine examples. From the Mirador de Los Masietos you have a magnificent view of the city and its surroundings.


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