Sos del Rey Católico is a historic town, located in the area of Cinco Villas in Spain’s region of Aragón. It’s admired for its lovely caramel-coloured architecture, old Jewish Quarter and delicate Gothic and Renaissance windows. Here’s our pick of the top 10 things to do and see in Sos del Rey Católico.
The Palacio de Sada is a lovely stone-built 15th century palace, where the famous King – Fernando II de Aragón, also known as Fernando el Católico, was born. On the front facade you can see the family’s coat of arms, while inside you’ll find the Interpretation Center of Fernando II of Aragón, filled with exhibits and audiovisuals on the life of this most famous monarch. The Municipal Tourism Office is also located inside the palace, where you can take guided tours of the town.
Sos del Rey Católico’s Town Hall is set in a beautiful 16th century Renaissance building at the centre of town. It is comprised of three floors of official offices and features the town’s coat of arms on the door. The top floor is similar to an Aragonese palace with a gallery of arches, and on its façade can be seen inscriptions from the Old Testament.
The grand Plaza Mayor or main town square is quite a sight to behold and sits at the centre of town. To one side stands the Renaissance Town Hall and to the other the Colegio Gil and Jaz, with its overhanging wooden balcony. Around the outside you can also see the stone arcades of the La Lonja – the stock exchange.
The Church of San Esteban is the main church in the town of Sos del Rey Católico. It stands right next to the tower of the old castle and was originally built in the 11th century. The oldest part is the crypt of Santa María del Perdón, where Gothic frescoes can be found – still well preserved. Other noteworthy features include the 12th century portal and the 16th century portico.
This tower is what remains of Sos del Rey Católico’s castle. It was originally built for defence purposes from wood and was later rebuilt by King Ramiro II of Aragon from stone during the 12th century. It sits at the highest point in town – on top of Feliciana Hill.
La Cocina Principal, Sos del Rey Catolico | Courtesy of La Cocina Principal, Sos del Rey Catolico
La Cocina del Principal is known by locals to be the best restaurant in town, so you can’t visit Sos del Rey Católico without dining here. Set in a 15th century stone nobleman’s house, it specialises in grilled meats, which are cooked over a traditional charcoal grill. Go for the suckling lamb, borage, artichokes and fresh green beans, and for dessert – chocolates, figs and ice cream.
The Barrio Judío or Jewish Quarter is a very atmospheric part of the town. It was established during the 12th century, when a number of Jewish families emigrated here from the Kingdom of Navarre when the Catholic Monarchs were expelling the Jews. At the centre of the barrio lies the Plaza de la Sartén, around which stands several Jewish houses. Visitors can also see the Old Synagogue, which today is a farmhouse. Look out for the cross symbol still found on some of the doorways here – these were the houses of the Jews who later converted to Christianity.
The Colegio Isidoro Gil de Jaz sits on the town’s Plaza Mayor, also known as Plaza de la Villa. It was once the childhood home of Don Isidoro Gil de Jaz, one of the ministers to King Carlos III and has a grand facade made of stone with arched windows. Later Don Isidoro Gil de Jaz turned his family home into a school for the children of the village. Today it is still a school, so it cannot be visited, but it’s still worth marvelling at the outside.
The convent of Nuestra Señora De Valentuñana was built for the Carmelitas Descalzos in the 17th century and is located two kilometres from the centre of Sos del Rey Católico. As soon as the convent was completed however, French troops invaded the town during the War of Independence and the nuns were forced to leave. They tried to return later, but again were stopped by the Carlist Wars. The convent then lay abondoned for many years, until a rich widow bought it in the early 1900s and gave it as a gift to the Bishop of Jaca, who converted it into a Major Seminary for the Agustinos Recoletos.
This grand building was once home to the town’s medieval market and meeting place of the town council. Built in the 15th century, it can be found next to the Town Hall on Plaza Mayor. Although today it is used as the municipal library, visitors can still see vestiges of its passed, including an underground cistern, two water wells that were used for refrigeration and places where wine and oil jars were kept.