When you travel the roads and trails of Maestrazgo you find hundreds of country houses scattered throughout the territory. They are called mas, masías or masadas and are the most representative rural constructions of Maestrazgo, symbol of traditional ways of life, of a peculiar form of agricultural exploitation of the territory and of adaptation to the hard conditions of life imposed by the environment. Although most of them are uninhabited, they constitute a valuable cultural heritage of our towns, contributing, in addition, to configure a rural landscape where the close interrelationships established between man and the territory he inhabits become evident.
The farmhouse consists of the main house and outbuildings such as barns, corrals, stables, courtyards, etc., as well as a series of differentiated spaces depending on the production: dry crops, the orchard, the pasture area, the woodland, etc.
The oldest of these constructions date back to the Middle Ages, since the Order of the Temple already gave permission to live in “nearby mansos”. In this way they ensured a certain control of the territory.
Curious are the so-called “fortified towers“. Very numerous in this frontier zone, they are located in strategic places to dominate an extensive territory and communicate with each other. The oldest are massive and slender defensive towers, later, as they lose their function, they lose height and become a symbol of prestige, sometimes with the addition of noble coats of arms and other decorative elements.
But the vast majority of the farmhouses date from the 19th and early 20th centuries. At this time there was a strong demographic pressure and many lands were ploughed, so many large farmhouses were divided into “masicos“, smaller houses, which would house smaller families, but which would have everything they needed to live: corrals, haystacks, pastures, woods and arable land.
Some of these farmhouses have been converted into tourist accommodations. In them you can get an idea of what life was like in the past, but with all the comforts of today.