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The wool trade and the Renaissance

The sixteenth century and the first decades of the seventeenth century correspond to a period of splendor in the civil architecture of Maestrazgo. There are numerous examples of palaces and stately homes in Renaissance style, with Aragonese and Neapolitan influences, with facades and ashlar facades of excellent workmanship, many of them emblazoned. Probably, from a historical architectural point of view, the most interesting examples of Renaissance palaces in Maestrazgo are found in La Iglesuela del Cid. and Mirambel. On the other hand, there are town halls with an open market with semicircular arches, also built following Renaissance patterns, generalized throughout the region.

At the beginning of the Modern Age the Maestrazgo had laid the foundations of what was to be an economy with remarkable possibilities of success. A subsistence farming economy was the optimal complement to specialization in sheep farming. The quality of the wool provided an important position in the markets and the income of the peasant families was supplemented by textile manufacturing. The peasants spent part of their time working on looms installed in their own homes, which provided new income for the family unit.

The high point of this perfectly integrated production model was reached during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At that time, some municipalities, such as Villarroya de los Pinares, became important textile centers. In general, the entire bailiwick area experienced a period of economic prosperity. This is easily noticeable in the buildings that house the town halls, in the palaces or in the houses of the craftsmen.

More information at Maestrazgo Virtual Museum.