The Torre Nueva in Zaragoza

Posted February 20, 2018 by zaragozaturismo in History
Torre Nueva

For many years, the most important civil symbol of Zaragoza was a thin mudejar tower, named Torre Nueva (New Tower) by the citizens. It was in a narrow space beside the Church of San Felipe, a few metres from the Roman wall. After a long history of admiration and love towards the building, doubts concerning its condition arose and people disagreed wether letting it stand or demolishing it.

On August 22th 1504 it was decided to erect a tower with a clock. It was built in brick following a mudejar style by various Christian and Mudejar master builders during 15 months. The total height of the tower was 312 feet, on an octagonal base of 45 feet in diameter, and was topped by two bells. Up to 10 feet off the ground the tower was vertical, but here’s the problem: from that point it started bowing until 210 feet, then resuming its verticality.

The tower had a main role during the episodes of the sieges of Zaragoza in the Napoleonic Wars as it served as a watchtower to control the French soldiers’ movements. Later, it was the muse of romantic travelers and when the technique of photography was born, numerous prints were published.

On December 27th 1846, after several days of strong wind and ice, there was a  storm that caused some bricks to fall and rubble. The harsh climate of Zaragoza and the lack of proper maintenance damaged the condition of the tower, which was already leaning. Progressively the neighbours close to the tower feared a collapse and so came the first request of demolition. In 1860 the municipal architect José de Yarza and Miñana made an intervention to strengthen the lower part, working both inside and outside. However, the future of the tower was not resolved and a few years later rose again the voices asking for its demolition. A council of notables tried to stop it but eventually on February 12th 1892 the town hall agreed to demolish the tower.

Torre Nueva memorialAfter several memorials, nowadays this emblematic monument is remembered by a mark on the ground that recalls its perimeter, a mural on a building as well as a sculpture of a man sitting on the floor, gazing at the disappeared tower, which is well known and cherished by citizens and visitors.

If you want to know a bit more about this hightlight in Zaragoza, you should visit the Torre Nueva Museum, located in one of the shops of the square, Montal. This small museum has photographs, engravings and other interesting items, like the mechanism and the sphere of the clock that stood at the top of the tower.


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