The curious origin of the villa Sos del Rey Católico

con otra mirada sos

 

Text and photo: Antonio Colmenar.

 

The villa Sos del Rey Católico is located at the north-western end of the province of Zaragoza, bordering on the neighbouring autonomous community of Navarra. It is part of the Aragonese region of the Five Villas along with Tauste, Ejea, Sádaba and Uncastillo.

 

The etymology of the place name “Sos” has led to different hypothesis. For some authors “Sos” means on a hill, referring to the situation of the villa on a small hill. For others, “Sos” possibly refers to the pre-Romanesque people of the ‘Suessetani’ that were found settled in that land. Finally, there is an interpretation in which ‘SOS’ would refer to the initials of “Sancti Oppidum Stephani”, which means, the villa of Saint Estephen.

 

Although historically the locality has always been called “Sos”, at the beginning of the 20th century, the City Council asked the Crown to be called Sos del Rey Católico (Sos of the Catholic King) to remember Ferdinand II of Aragón, who was born in that villa, to which King Alfonso XIII agreed in 1925.

 

For being a border villa between the neighbours of Navarra and Aragón, Sos had a fortified castle to strengthen the defensive line. It is on top of the Feliciana crag, the highest part of the locality, which made the defence of the square easier.

 

There are no remains of the original wood castle. As construction techniques evolved, wood was replaced by stone and, at the moment, the most noteworthy remains of the castle of the 12th century that have been preserved are in the renovated Keep.

 

The locality also has the Casa de la Villa, where the current town council is, a building in the Renaissance style that was built by the council of Sos at the end of the 16th century, reformed during the 19th century and renovated in the eighties for the adaptation of its current function as administrative office of the municipality.

 

 

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