Cetina, Aragon

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Cetina, Aragon
Flag of Cetina, Aragon
Official seal of Cetina, Aragon
Cetina in comarca de Calatayud
Cetina in comarca de Calatayud
Autonomous communityAragon
ComarcaComunidad de Calatayud
 • AlcaldeJosé Miguel Velázquez
 • Total78.76 km2 (30.41 sq mi)
666 m (2,185 ft)
 • Total592
 • Density7.5/km2 (19/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)

Cetina is a municipality in the province of Zaragoza, Aragon. It is situated at an altitude of 666 metres (2,185 ft) in the south east of the province, in the Comunidad de Calatayud, some 176 kilometres (109 mi) north east of Madrid and 98 kilometres (61 mi) south west of Zaragoza.[2] The population in 2011 was 687.[3]

Cetina is also a Spanish surname (e.g. Gutierre de Cetina), originally used to refer to people who hailed from this town.


The origins of the settlement are unknown, but Ambrosio de Morales has identified Cetina as Certima or Celtima, a Celtiberian fort which was conquered by the Roman general Graco in 179 CE.[4] The town lies on the Camino del Cid, the path taken by the medieval warrior, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as El Cid, according to the anonymous medieval poem, "El Cantar de Mio Cid", which follows the course of the river Jalón. The relevant lines state that "and they entered the plain of Torancio, and halted between Ariza and Cetina; great were the spoils which they collected as they went along."[5] Cetina was granted its own fuero (law) by Guillén de Belles and Ramón Berenguer IV in the late 12th century.

In 1808, during the Peninsular War, the pueblo was pillaged by 18,000 French soldiers, commanded by Marshal Ney who occupied the area.[4] In 1936, twelve members of the Unión General de Trabajadores, all hailing from Torrijo de la Cañada, a nearby village, were shot by nationalists and buried in a mass grave in Cetina. The bodies were exhumed in 2010 and returned to their families for burial.[6]

Buildings of interest[edit]

The castle stands on a small hill in the centre of the settlement. It is believed that it was captured by El Cid on his passage through the area. The castle chapel has some noted mudéjar decoration and was the location of the marriage of the 17th-century poet Francisco de Quevedo to Doña Esperanza de Mendoza in 1634.[3] Nearby is the 15th-century parish church dedicated to San Juan Bautista (St John the Baptist).[7]


The "contradanza" is a folk dance peculiar to Cetina, held on 19 May, the feast of San Juan Lorenzo, a fourteenth-century martyr who was born in Cetina. It is performed by nine young men, four wearing black jackets trimmed with white, four wearing white jackets trimmed with black, whilst the ninth, "the Devil", wears red. The ritual sacrifice of the devil is enacted and the dancers create shapes with their bodies, the whole accompanied by a constant monotonous tune.[7][8] The dance was first mentioned in reports from 1751. In 2012, the government of Aragon declared the contradanza to be a special part of Aragon's cultural heritage.[7][9]



  1. ^ "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "City (town) Cetina: map, population, location". tiptopglobe.com. 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Camino del Cid: Cetina". caminodelcid.org (in Spanish). 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Cetina-Historia". cetina.es. 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  5. ^ Southey, Robert (1846). Chronicle of the Cid (from the Spanish). Lowell, Massachusetts: Daniel Bixby. p. 145.
  6. ^ Sánchez, Gervasio (29 March 2010). "73 Años De Espera En Aragon". Los desastres de la guerra (in Spanish). Heraldo De Aragon. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Staff (2012). "Cetina - Comunidad de Calatayud". CAI Turismo Aragón (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  8. ^ Beltrán Martínez, Profesor Antonio (2011). "Cetina-Tradiciones". cetina.es. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  9. ^ Europa Press, Zaragoza (24 January 2012). "La Contradanza de Cetina, Bien de Interés Cultural Inmaterial". heraldo.es (in Spanish). Zaragoza: Heraldo de Aragón. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°18′N 1°58′W / 41.300°N 1.967°W / 41.300; -1.967