Location in Aragon
|Comarca||Comunidad de Calatayud|
|o Alcalde||José Manuel Aranda (PP)|
|o Total||154 km2 (59 sq mi)|
|Elevation||530 m (1,740 ft)|
|o Density||130/km2 (340/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Calatayud (Spanish pronunciation: [kalata'?uð]; 2014 pop. 20,658) is a municipality in the Province of Zaragoza, within Aragón, Spain, lying on the river Jalón, in the midst of the Sistema Ibérico mountain range. It is the second-largest town in the province after the capital, Zaragoza, and the largest town in Aragón other than the three provincial capitals. It is the seat of the comarca of Calatayud. Its population has been declining during the last decade due to migration.
The town has the title Muy noble, leal, siempre augusta y fidelísima ciudad de Calatayud ("The very noble, loyal, always august and most faithful town of Calatayud"). The first democratic elections after General Franco's regime were called for 15 June 1977. In Calatayud they were held one day earlier than all the rest of Spain, in order to prepare for a visit there by King Juan Carlos I.
The city was founded on the site of a Celt-Iberian settlement by the Romans with the name Augusta Bilbilis and was the birthplace of the poet Martial in 40 CE. The site of the ruins of Augusta Bilbilis are approximately four kilometers to the north of the modern city of Calatayud. The modern town was founded by the Moors around the Ayyub castle, circa 716 CE.
The name Calatayud came from the Arabic ? ? Qal'at 'Ayy?b, "Ayyub's castle". The ancient inhabitants of Bilbilis moved to the new site. Occupying a strategic placement between the central meseta of Spain and the Ebro valley the city retained its importance in succeeding centuries. By the eleventh century a substantial Jewish community was present, surviving the reconquista until the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Judaica texts from this era refer to Calatayud as ?, ? ?, or ? (Qal`a Ayuv, Qal` Ayuv, Qal`iya Ayuv) The city was conquered from the Muslims by Alfonso I of Aragón in 1119. Many surviving examples of mudéjar church architecture show that the Moorish influence lived on.
During the Peninsular Wars a notable siege of French-occupied Calatayud led to its capture by guerillas in 1811. The city was the capital of its own province in 1822-23, during the Trienio Liberal.
The town suffers from sinkholes.
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One of the most notable Mudéjar towers of Aragón is the 15th-century bell tower of the collegiate church of Santa María, which was built on the site of a mosque. The Muslim fortress is the biggest and oldest one on the Iberian peninsula. The church of "San Pedro" was founded by Ferdinand II of Aragón and it was there that the first cortes (parliament) of Aragon was held in 1411.
There is a popular Spanish song that says (translated) "If you go to Calatayud / ask for Dolores (a popular female name) / she is a very nice girl / fond of granting favours" that captures the (traditional) fame of girls in Calatayud. Given that reputation, traditionally boys went to the town in order to "ask for Dolores" to be "favoured" by local girls. Nowadays this tradition has dismissed although in festivities, boys from the surroundings, even from Zaragoza, visit the town with that aim.
Calatayud has four sister cities.: