Sallent de Gállego. Tena Valley, Huesca. Piedad Sancho-Mata / © ICEX
The Autonomous Community of Aragón is located in the northeast of Spain, bordering with France and occupies a land area of 47,720.25 sq. kilometers (18,425 sq. miles). It has a population of 1,349,467 inhabitants (2012) and is divided into three provinces: Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza. The capital city is Zaragoza.
Cereals and grains, green peas and fruit (peaches, cherries, pears and apples) constitute the main pillars of agricultural production in Aragón. The region is also an important producer of preserved vegetables.
Cured hams from Teruel and other prepared meats are highlights of its meat industry.
The reputation of Aragonese wines has grown steadily with the continuous application throughout recent years of new oenological and marketing techniques. There are four wine Designations of Origin in Aragón: DO Somontano, DO Campo de Borja, DO Cariñena y DO Calatayud.
Read more: Wines from Spain
Aragón was visited by 276,691 foreign tourists in 2012.
The UNESCO has declared centers of Mudéjar architecture (an artistic style developed by the Muslims who remained in Spain after the Reconquista, or Christian reconquest, of the Iberian Peninsula from the11th to the15th century, such as those in the old city of Teruel) World Heritage sites. The Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar in Zaragoza is another outstanding landmark.
Aragon offers many treasured nature reserves, such as Monte Perdido National Park declared World Heritage by UNESCO, as well as the Ordesa-Viñamala declared by UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the Guara and the Dehesa del Moncayo Natural Parks.
The provincial museum in Zaragoza houses a comprehensive archaeological collection. The city houses many interesting archaeological sites dating from Roman times to be seen at the Thermae Museum, the River Port Museum, the Forum Museum and the Caesaraugusta Roman Theatre Museum.
The town of Fuendetodos, the birthplace of Goya (1746-1828), offers a house dedicated to the extraordinary Aragonese painter.
More info: Turismo de Aragón
Aragón is a region with a rich history, evidenced by a wealth of monuments such as the castle at Loarre or the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña. There are many other picturesque and well-preserved villages in the region, such as Albarracín, Aínsa or Sos del Rey Católico.
Universally famous figures from Aragon include Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, artist and painter (1746-1828), scientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852 -1934), winner of the 1906 Nobel Prize for Medicine and film director Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), winner of an Oscar for the Best Foreign Film in 1973.
Fiestas and Food Festivals
In August, Jaca (Huesca) hosts the International Folk Festival of the Pyrenees gathers (every two years): ethnic musical, dance and singing groups from all over the world. The National Hispanic Day (October 12) is when Zaragoza celebrates the fiesta of its patroness, Our Lady of Pilar, with the traditional offering of flowers and fruits.
Many gastronomic fiestas celebrating traditional products and dishes take place throughout the year all over the region.
The aromas and flavors of lamb and of a time-honored Aragonese dish, Chicken al Chilindrón (made with onions, tomatoes and red peppers), are typical of Aragonese cuisine.
Cured ham from Teruel is perhaps the region’s most well known cured meat, although it also produces an excellent pork sausage (longaniza).
The typical sweets from the region are called Fruits of Aragón. In order to make them, the wide range of fruits that Aragonese orchards offer are candied and then covered with dark chocolate.