Borja, Zaragoza

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Borja in 2004
Borja in 2004
Flag of Borja
Coat of arms of Borja
Borja is located in Aragon
Location in Spain
Borja is located in Spain
Borja (Spain)
Borja is located in Europe
Borja (Europe)
Coordinates: 41°50′N 1°32′W / 41.833°N 1.533°W / 41.833; -1.533
Country Spain
Autonomous community Aragon
ComarcaCampo de Borja
 • AlcaldeEduardo Arilla Pablo (PSOE)
 • Total107 km2 (41 sq mi)
448 m (1,470 ft)
 • Total4,922
 • Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
WebsiteOfficial website
Church of Santa Clara convent
The Mudéjar towers of the Collegiate of Santa María

Borja is a town and municipality in the province of Zaragoza, community of Aragon, northeastern Spain. As of 2014, its population was 4,931.


The municipality borders with Ablitas (in Navarre) Agón, Ainzón, Alberite de San Juan, Albeta, Ambel, Bulbuente, El Buste, Fréscano, Magallón, Maleján, Mallén, Tabuenca, Tarazona, and Vera de Moncayo. It is the administrative seat of the comarca of Campo de Borja.


The town's origins date back to the fifth century BC, because this is when a Celtiberian settlement known as Bursau or Bursao had existed near the current ruins of the castle. After the Roman conquest (first century BC) also the slopes of the hill were populated, though the town started to expand significantly only after the Muslim conquest in the eighth century AD.[citation needed]

In the twelfth century it was conquered by the Christians from the north, and in the fifteenth/16th centuries it was converted into a military fortress against the Castillan invasions, but at the same time received much of its historical architectural heritage, with numerous churches and palaces. It received the title of "city" by King Alfonso V of Aragon in 1438. During the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, the Jews, forming an important part of the Borjan community, were expelled.

The House of Borgia, which rose to prominence during the Italian Renaissance, originated in Borja and their name was a variant of the town's name. However, since at the time when they lived in Borja they were not yet especially prominent, their earlier history remains largely unknown.

Borja existed through a period of recession and plagues in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It recovered economically starting from the nineteenth century, when a railway connecting the city to Cortes, in Navarre, was inaugurated. In the twentieth century agriculture, traditionally the mainstay of Borja's economy, started to lose its importance, and, without a consistent industrial base, the city lost economical and political importance in the area: much of the population therefore emigrated to other more developed areas. The industrial sector is intended to be boosted by businesses being attracted to the ongoing development "Polígono Industrial Barbalanca", the Barbalanca Industrial Estate.


Main sights[edit]

  • Collegiate church of Santa Maria.
  • Church of San Miguel, in Gothic– style, with a Romanesque apse.
  • Baroque convent of Santa Clara
  • Hermitage of San Jorge, in Gothic-Mudéjar style
  • Town Hall, built in 1532
  • eighteenth-century small temple
  • Newly renovated, twentieth-century fresco depicting a "Hedgehog-like" figure of Jesus

Fresco restoration[edit]

In 2012, octogenarian amateur painter Cecilia Giménez botched a partial restoration of an unremarkable Ecce Homo fresco (c. 1930) depicting Christ by Elías García Martínez. The spectacularly bad results garnered worldwide attention,[2] and has been called one of "the worst art restoration projects of all time".[3] However, the interest from tourists has led to an economic upswing in the town.[4] In the year following the failed restoration, tourist activity generated 40,000 visits and more than €50,000 for a local charity.[5][6] By 2016, the number of tourists visiting the town increased from 6,000 to 57,000; in addition to spending money with local businesses, visitors have donated some €50,000 to the church. The money has been used to employ additional attendants at the church and to fund an old people's home.[7] On 16 March 2016, an interpretation centre dedicated to the artwork was opened in Borja.[8]

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns[edit]



  1. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. ^ Spanish fresco restoration botched by amateur
  3. ^ Despite Good Intentions, a Fresco in Spain Is Ruined
  4. ^ Brooks, Katherine (20 September 2012). "'Ecce Homo' Restorationist Cecilia Gimenez Allegedly Demands Royalties for 'Beast Jesus' Creation in Spain". HuffPost. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Ecce dinero: Spain turns ruined Christ fresco into money-spinner | Art and design". The Guardian. Associated Press in Madrid. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Detenido Florencio Garcés, el cura de Borja: abusos sexuales y robo de 210.000 euros. En la Iglesia de esta localidad zaragozana se encuentra el famoso 'Eccehomo' restaurado por Cecilia Giménez" [Florencio Garcés, the priest of Borja Arrested: sexual abuse and theft of 210,000 euros. In the church of this town in Zaragoza there is the famous 'Eccehomo' restored by Cecilia Giménez]. 30 November 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Botched restoration has visitors flooding to sleepy Spanish village". Spain: Euro Weekly News. 17 March 2016. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  8. ^ Aitor Bengoa (16 March 2016). "El eccehomo de Borja ya tiene quien lo explique. Se inaugura el Centro de Interpretación centrado en la pintura retocada en 2012 por la restauradora aficionada Cecilia Giménez" [Borja's eccehomo already has someone to explain it. The Interpretation Center is inaugurated, focused on the painting that was touched up in 2012 by the amateur restorer Cecilia Giménez]. El Pais. Retrieved 5 April 2016.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Borja at Wikimedia Commons