The old church of the Assumption of Our Lady, popularly known as “El Piquete”, is a Gothic-Mudejar Monument. Together with monuments in Zaragoza like the Aljafería Palace and La Seo Cathedral, El Piquete forms part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Construction began in the early fifteenth century, around 1414, by Antipope Benedict XIII (Papa Luna)’s architect Mahoma Ramí. El Piquete is located on the hill that gives its name to the more fortified “The Crown” defensive, which can be likened to the castle of the town of Quinto, Zaragoza, Spain.
During the Civil War it was used as an observation point and also provided shelter for the population. El Piquete suffered the war at first hand since it was exposed to the constant effects of artillery which resulted in severe damage to the building, including the walls, galleries, roofs and porch. After the war el Piquete was desecrated and new church was built in the lower part of the village.
El Piquete was closed to the public since the 1950s as it remained in a state of disrepair. However it was used as warehouse to store grain during the 1960s.
However, Quinto City Council assumed the responsibility for the maintenance of the church and undertook a restoration project that started in 1982 and lasted four decades. In 1996 the Borough of Quinto secured funding from the regional government, the Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza, to restore the façade. This project was carried out by architects Carlos García Toledo and Javier Peña Gonzalvo and was concluded in 2003. Long years of restoration efforts have improved the outside of the building, reflecting its splendour and beauty.
The next phase of restoration focused on the inside of the church. In 2011 floor repairs lead to the discovery of a burial site holding 30 mummified bodies which date back 300 years. The bodies were naturally mummified after being interred, due to lack of humidity in the environment. Fifteen mummies are well preserved with many of their traits and clothes intact and are popularly known “Quinto’s mummies”. From 2011 to 2016 archaeological works were carried out to locate more burial sites and to analyse and research the mummies. Part of the archaeological work entailed advising on future renovation plans.
The Church opened its doors to the public in November 2017. The Borough of Quinto organised a large and festive cultural event to celebrate the culmination of the restoration works and to present plans to turn the building into a Cultural Centre and Museum for use by all the community and visitors to the area. Celebrations ran for two days and more than 2,500 people passed through the Church.
The Museum of Mummies will open its doors officially in 2018. You can’t miss it”!