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t Espejo Lake, located in the park of the Monasterio de Piedra

Experience Aragón

In 1035, Sancho III of Pamplona bequeathed the small Pyrenean county of Aragón to his third son, Ramiro I. By 1104, the kingdom had doubled in size with the additions of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza to the east and conquests to the south.

When Ramon Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona, married Petronilla of Aragón in 1137, the kingdom became united with Catalonia. From the 12th to 15th centuries, Aragón became a powerful federation of states, with the Catalans devoting themselves to commerce and maritime expansion and the Aragonese kings reconquering the rich kingdom of Valencia from the Moors in 1238. After the Reconquest, Moorish architects and craftsmen were treated more tolerantly here than elsewhere, and they continued their work in the distinctive Mudéjar style. In its heyday, in the 13th century, Aragón’s dominions stretched across the Mediterranean as far as Sicily.

By his marriage to Isabel of Castile and León in 1469, Fernando II of Aragón paved the way for the unification of Spain. But the region had a tense relationship with the monarchy – in the 16th century Aragón supported the unsuccessful Habsburg claimant in the War of Succession. Aragón’s decline continued into the 19th century, when it was a Carlist stronghold, and it was divided in two by the Nationalists and Republicans during the Civil War. The east was run by the Republicans, while the Nationalists controlled the west. The two areas were only united by Franco’s victory. On 23 April 1978, more than 100,000 people marched through the streets of Zaragoza, demanding Aragón’s autonomy from Spain.

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