The region of Matarraña is the boundary limit of Terra Alta and which at the same time forms the boundary between Catalonia and Aragon. Many are the nexus of union between both, from the linguistic, passing through agricultural products and some of their customs.
Here, we would like to make a short summary of these places, as well as their most striking towns and villages from the tourist aspect
Towns belonging to this region are: Arenys de Lledó, Beceite, Calaceite, Cretas, Fórnoles, La Fresneda, Fuentesplada, and Lledo, Mazaleón, Monroyo Peñarroya de Tastavins, La Portellada, Rafales, Torre de Arcas, Torre del Comte, Valdertormo, Valderobres and Valjunquera.
The valuable architectural legacy that the towns have in the region of Matarraña along with the natural environment that surrounds it make this area a tourist destination first of wilderness with a wealthy landscape flanked by the well known ports of Beceite with beautiful landscapes, the monumental heritage of their settlements with urban areas declared historic-artistic areas, the cave paintings that we can see in some villages and the network of museums and exhibition halls make the region an outstanding tourist enclave.
Its gastronomy and products of the Earth headed by the ham with designation of origin of extra Virgin olive oil, goats cheese, traditional sweets contribute to their villages that are a destination without equal.
Administrative capital of the region bathed by the waters of the river that gives it its name, is a must visit, both the artistic heritage and its food and raw materials.
Places of interest. Castle - Palace and Church of Santa Maria la Mayor, impressive monument that presides over the silhouette of the town, especially striking is the rose window of the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.
Entering through the Gothic bridge over the Matarraña we can see the spectacular entrance to the town by the portal of San Roque, a medieval bridge which is a fundamental part of the architecture and image of the town, it passes through the old main door of access to the enclosure walls through the aforementioned portal.
Casa de los Moles.
Construction corresponding to late Gothic with the classical exterior Gallery roofed and covered in front at the top.
Construction inspired by the Town Hall of Alcañiz to which a market was added for commercial purposes in which was built under the orders of the Antonio Champanach master of Mannerist style and was completed in 1599 date which is reflected in the shield that presides over the facade.
Despite being one of the oldest buildings in Valderobres. This impressive building located at the foot of the castle is one which has undergone the most transformations, its original function was to collect taxes. In the same building although clearly differentiated is the old hospital, which at the time was a hostel for poor and property of the Church, with the passage of time came to be used as a municipal school and store.
Another part of the same complex is the castle that marks the silhouette of the town and believed built at the end of the 12th century, although some scholars do not discard the possibility that it was built earlier. In 1931 it was declared a national monument.
Together with the figure of the Castle-Palace and built in honor of Santa María la Mayor, the Church of Valderobres is one of the most spectacular examples of the levantino Gothic in the province of Teruel
Its central square is one of the most impressive architectural ensembles of all Aragon, presided over by its Town Hall finished at the end of the 16th century and built in Gothic Renaissance style with a large marketplace from which you can access the magnificent main street that leads to a junction of streets where the Palace of Encomienda is.
It is also interesting to visit the old convent of Friars Mínimos where there is an atmosphere of peace by walking through the pine groves of the Valley of silence.
In the upper part of the village is situated the Church of Santa Maria mostly of the 17TH century, the castle of the order of Calatrava and the ruins of the Hermitage of Santa Bárbara where now there is a Astronomical Observatory where you can admire the wonderful sun rises.
It is one of the most attractive towns in the region of Matarraña and is also a natural entrance to the ports of the same name. It has a population of about 650 inhabitants and borders the municipalities of Cretas and Valderobres.
It is the authentic green lung of the region and in its municipal area are the source of the major rivers of the area, is a at a height of 580 m above sea level. Its municipal area is covered mostly by forest and in part of this area we can find the national hunting reserve. The town of Beceite is declared of cultural interest by the Government of Aragon and within its municipal area we find a special protection zone of for birds.
The main places well worth visiting in the town apart from the town centre are:
Paper Millas, presiding the ancestral paper industry of the town created by the Arabs.
The Town Hall, architectural work worthy of mention.
St Bartholomew's Church.
Hermitage of Santa Ana.
La Presoneta y la Botera.
Portal de San Gregorio.
Considered the cultural capital of the Matarraña region and is an area of great influences of the Catalan lands and Levantine with customs, history and landscapes that will surprise the traveller to be between in this land halfway between the Mediterranean and the inner peninsula.
Calaceite is a town with a great architectural value and beauty, as some towns of the region was declared a group of historic and artistic interest and of great cultural interest
The central area of the town, around the main square and its parish church, are the three main roads that go through the town and connected with the portals is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Pilar, San Antonio and the now disappeared Virgin of the Rosary. Its urban profile is composed of two high areas that are the turret and surrounds the Castle. During the 18th century and early 19th century was a great architectural expansion, in which many houses were built that shields can de seen avove the doors. This detail marked the economic prosperity of the town by the cultivation of oil that Calaceite has historically been the maximum producer in the area.
PEÑARROYA DE TASTAVINS.
Its municipal area are also part of Beceite ports. With ravines, abysses and forests of great beauty it is an ideal place to practice mountain sports, and we can highlight the Masmut rocks where you can practice climbing. On top of this monolithic group with 100 m walls, lives a colony of vultures and if you have binoculars you can observe the diversity of the wildlife that inhabits the area. Peñarroya de Tastavins is a village that is ideal for nature and hiking lovers.
With a population of about 550 inhabitants, strolling through the steep streets is a real pleasure for the eyes, enjoying the beauty of its buildings of folk architecture and the great variety of flowers that fill its balconies, the city preserves buildings built between the 17TH and the 18th century.
Of the monuments of the town include the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Fuente located 2 km from the town with Gothic and Mudejar style coffered ceilings which are catalogued as one of the most important in Aragon, all of this forms part of a part of a guest house with a courtyard and a baroque chapel, under the altar of the chapel flows a source of 15 water pipes.
Another building worth visiting is the Santa Maria parish Church, the largest built in the 18th century building of great austerity outside but great monumental in its interior, is Renaissance style architectural and paintings that adorn the interior are of Baroque style.
At the top of the town is the technological Museum "Lo Masmut" where you can visit a permanent exhibition titles "life and traditional trades: Lo Masmut". It consists of nine rooms dedicated to winery, the stable, the elaboration of wine, mowing and threshing, the pantry and the elaboration of bread, home and the dining room, the bedroom, carpentry and Blacksmithing. This is a must visit to see the customs of the area.
The former stables of the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Fuente is “the center of interpretation of the pig”, in which we can see the importance of the pork industry in the area and its cultural and anthropological load.
The paleontological museum of Peñarroya was created on the occasion of the discovery of a dinosaur in the L´Escresola ravine.
In the municipality of Peñarroya de Tastavins is part of the area of production of two quality products such as ham and extra virgin olive oil, marketed as D. o. "Jamón de Teruel". And D. o. "Oil of the bajo Aragón".
The history of the town has marked in an indelible manner its passage in the stone houses in the portals once defending the town and in old oil mills surrounded by fields full of olive trees, almond trees, vineyards etc. and has areas of natural baths that could be qualified as idyllic.
The beautiful town of Cretas of almost 600 inhabitants above all for the sobriety of its squares and buildings.
Around the urban core it presents streets, passages with a special charm, as the chapel of San Roque next to one of the portals of the ancient walls or the Portal-capilla of San Antonio also enjoy these feelings walking down the street of the order of Calatrava.
The parish church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción is a clear example of Aragonese Renaissance architecture, The building was built with choir stalls belonging to the ancient Cretan castle that was used as a fortress, that was witnessed by the battlements which crowned it. In its spectacular Plaza Mayor with its ancestral homes highlighting the Picota, a column built in 1584 and now restored, and the popular saying is that it was used to tie the condemned to the gallows.
In this municipality you can enjoy never ending fonts of water such as the monumental Font de la Barra or Font de Eixetes built in 1552.
On the outskirts of the town stands the Hermitage of the Virgin of Mercy a large-scale rural temple built in the 16th century, from where you can see beautiful views of the ports of Beceite. You can also visit the Iberian settlement of Els Castellans belonging to the approximately to the 5th century to the 3rd century BC and the cave paintings of Els Gascons, removed at the beginning of the 20th century and on show now in the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona