Cantavieja, capital of the Maestrazgo region, is located on a limestone rock at an altitude of 1300 meters, at an extreme point that makes it look as if it were going to fall. It currently has 700 inhabitants and is the most populated town in the region.
Its medieval layout, its viewpoints, architectural monuments and the relevance of its historical past allowed this town to be declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1981. But its importance did not stop there. It was later included in the list of the “Most Beautiful Villages of Spain”.
Throughout its history, numerous groups of historical relevance have passed through Cantavieja. Templars, Sanjuanistas and Carlists have left their mark on the town in the form of architecture, history, memories and legends that still retain their charm. Specifically, we will focus on its history during the Carlist Wars, as it was a fundamental enclave. It was the residence of one of the most influential characters in the recent history of the region, “El Tigre del Maestrazgo” Ramón Cabrera. Unfortunately, this period resulted in the deterioration of numerous fortifications, especially its castle. Of it only several towers of its walled enclosure are preserved. Today, visitors can learn about the development and influences of these conflicts thanks to the Carlist Wars Museum.
The historic center of Cantavieja
The architectural ensemble of the interior of the villa is certainly spectacular. Particularly noteworthy is the Plaza Porticada, one of the most beautiful squares in Aragon. It is presided over by the Casa del Concejo, of Gothic origin, and by the spectacular baroque Church of the Assumption, modeled after the Basilica del Pilar in Zaragoza. Another of Cantavieja’s treasures is the church of San Miguel. Of Gothic origin and located next to the wall and the old hospital, it is worth a visit through guided tours. At the head of this temple is the most notable example of a burial with sculptural decoration of the Gothic period in Teruel. Other interesting visits in the town are the Loreto hermitage, the refrigerator or the old school that has been restored.
In addition to this picturesque urban center, there are several farmhouses scattered throughout the extensive area of Cantavieja. Located between mountains and ravines, they were the best way to exploit agricultural and livestock resources to the maximum, as well as to keep the mountain populated. Historically, the village has been divided into four districts: La Vega, El Barranco, Las Umbrías and La Solana, each with its own traditions, its hermitage and its patron saint.