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City of Uncastillo (Aragon, Spain)

Saragossa / Zaragoza Province

Last modified: 2010-10-08 by eugene ipavec
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The municipality of Uncastillo (819 inhabitants in 2007; 230.6 sq. km) is located 115 km of Zaragoza. In 1996, Uncastillo was declared "Conjunto Histórico-Artístico," that is part of the Spanish historic and artistic heritage placed under the protection of the Ministry of Culture.

While the region of Uncastillo was already settled from the Bronze Age to the Roman period (the ruins of the Roman spa of Los Bañales, located in the southern part of the municipal territory), the first historical references to Uncastillo date back to the early Xth century. At that time, a fortress was built on the hill called "Peña de Ayllón," in what was still a lower domain belonging to King of Pamplona Sancho Garcés I; accordingly, the domain was granted the title of town ("Villa"). As en enclave located close to the front, Uncastillo was a significant place in the Christian reconquest. Until the last third of the Xth century, the fortress was attacked several times by the Muslims, commanded by Caliph Abd Alarman III himself.

After the consolidation of the border by Sancho III the Great, the Kingdom of Aragón developed under Ramiro I. He and his successors conquered big territories over the Muslims and built fortresses on the new border. The northernmost fortresses lost their strategic importance but Uncastillo gained a new strategic significance to secure the border with Navara. The XIIth century was the first gilded age of Uncastillo, as reflected by the several Romanesque churches built at that time. The religious, cultural, socio-economic and artistic development led to a new urbanistic development, which has been hardly modified since then. Uncastillo has therefore retained its medieval structure and gained the nickname of "Museum Town." The middle of the XVIth century was the second gilded age of Uncastillo. A big town hall was built, while the 'Estatuto de Artes" was founded in 1543, competing for a while with the University of Huesca. Famous humanists taught there, such as the grammarian Pedro Simón Abril; Bishop Pedro Frago Garcés, born in Uncastillo, wrote epistles ans religious books and took part in the Council of Trent.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 31 May 2008


The news agency "Europa Press" reported on 2 May 2008 that the new symbols of the municipality of Uncastillo will be unveiled on 3 May 2008. Like the symbols of Pozán de Vero presented in a companion message, the symbols of Uncastillo were designed by the Chair of Emblematics "Barón de Valdeolivos" of the "Institución Fernando El Católico" after the consultation of several historic sources.

The municipal arms of Uncastillo are "Gules a castle or port and windows azure." Red and yellow allused to the "Señal Real" used by the Kings of Aragón and still the flag of Aragón, while bleu recalls the rivers Riguel and Cádena watering the municipality. The arms also include an eight-pointed star argent symbolizing the rights and franchises granted by the kings to the town, and its eight parishes (Santa María, San Martín, San Andrés, San Felices, San Juan, San Lázaro, San Lorenzo and San Miguel). The shield is surmounted by an open crown.

The municipal flag of Uncastillo is a banner of the municipal arms.


Ivan Sache, 31 May 2008

Coat of Arms

A notice on a blog, dated 22 May 2007, states that several versions of the coat of arms were used without official approbation, modelled on the historic shield shown on the facade of the town hall, indeed the oldest known representation of the arms of Uncastillo. In April 2007, the municipal council approved the official design of the coat of arms. Specific details on the coat of arms are unfortunately not given.

The original, historical shield can be seen on a website dedicated to the history of Uncastillo.

The coat of arms of Uncastillo shown on the bottom of the municipal webpages has different colours from the shield described above: the field is or, the castle is azure port and windows sable and the star is azure. Therefore, the municipal website might use a former, unofficial version of the arms.

Ivan Sache, 31 May 2008