Tarazona, located some 80km north of Zaragoza is a small town, not more than 11.000 inhabitants.
What the place lacks in size, it more than makes up in historical buildings. An added pleasure is the fact, that Tarazona lends itself to leisurely exploring on foot. In fact, there is no other way, no tour buses pollute the fresh air coming in from the Moncayo mountain range and Nature Park, because they wouldn’t fit through the narrow cobblestoned streets.
Many are pedestrian zones anyway, so you just have to mind your step and otherwise can look up, down and sideways at your heart’s content. You will discover plenty of small and big treasures.
I start my walk at the pretty Plaza San Francisco. Everything you need is conveniently located here: the tourist information office at the bottom of elegant stairs, a taxi rank, a bank and even a police station.
I cross a narrow bridge over the river Queiles and enter Calle Visconti, walking past my hotel for my stay, the quaint Hostal Santa Agueda.
Just follow the narrow street past delightful shops, selling clothes, books, local delicacies like cheeses and bubub marmalade until you reach the Plaza Mayor. Here you face one of the most beautiful and important historical buildings of Tarazona: The Town Hall. Take your time to enjoy the elaborately carved friezes and sculptures of this Renaissance Palace. They tell a story of the many kings who one time or another rules in Aragon and made Tarazona their seat.
Then pass the Town Hall on the left and enter another part of history: La Juderia. In the Middle Ages and under Arab rule, Muslims, Jews and Christians coexisted peacefully and La Juderia was where the Jews lived and carried out their businesses. Many narrow streets divide the older and newer part of the Jewish Quarters, but the most emblematic sight are the hanging houses, glued to the ancient city walls.
By decree the balconies had to be separated from each other by exactly 2 elbow lengths.
At the top you reach the Bishop’s Palace, another impressive building in the Mudejar style with a fabulous salon, decorated with a wooden ceiling and featuring portraits of a long line of bishops. Downstairs contains a rather chilly reminder of a dark part of Spanish history: the seat of tribunals of the Inquisition.
From the platform in front of the Bishop’s Palace you have a splendid view over Tarazona and as far as the Moncayo. What catches the eye though is the Old Bullring. It is closely surrounded by houses, not by open spaces as are other bullrings in Spain. No bullfights are being held here anymore and have not been for some time.
As I descend the steep stone steps towards the river and come closer, I can see that the bullring has been put to good use: it now houses apartments.
I follow the river bank back towards Plaza San Francisco, leaving a visit to the cathedral for the afternoon after a rest at my hotel. But, before that I returned to my favorite little shop and bought cheese from Trasmoz and a few jars of burbub marmalade, each one exotically flavored with whiskey, gin and other strong alcohol.