Teruel Tourist Attractions
by gorges. A town of Iberian origin (Turba), it was devastated by the Romans in 215 B.C. Long after the Reconquista it retained its Moorish inhabitants, who enjoyed special rights and were able to develop freely, losing their last mosque as late as 1502.Teruel also had a large Jewish community, who lived in peaceful coexistence with Christians and Moors until a pogrom in 1486 which ended the concord between the different religions and initiated the town's decline. During the Spanish Civil War Teruel was the scene of a decisive battle (Dec. 1937 to Feb. 1938) which caused great destruction in the town.
Teruel owes its continuing Moorish presence to its fine examples of Mudéjar architecture, including particularly the magnificent towers which still span certain streets.
Above Calle del Salvador, in the south of Teruel, soars the tower (1277-1315) of the church of San Salvador, one of Teruel's finest Mudéjar towers with its intricately patterned brickwork, its chequered tile insets and its battlemented top.
At the north end of Calle del Salvador in Teruel is the Plaza de Carlos Castell, the central feature of the town, in the center of which is the Fuente del Torico. To the right of the square stands the church of San Pedro, with a 14th century tower similar in structure and decoration to that of the Cathedral. The chancel is also Mudéjar; other parts of the church were altered in the 18th Century. The 16th century retablo on the high altar is ascribed to Gabriel Joly, a Picard.
Lovers of Teruel
Leaving the church of San Pedro in Teruel and passing under the tower, we come to a chapel containing a rather gruesome sight, two mummified bodies housed in glass coffins. These are said to be the remains of the ''Lovers of Teruel'', the story of whose love has been celebrated by several Spanish poets. The story goes that in the 13th century Diego García de Marcilla wanted to marry Isabella de Segura but was turned down by her father, who wanted a rich bridegroom for his daughter. Diego thereupon went abroad, made his fortune and returned to Teruel after five years, on the very day of Isabella's marriage to another man. Thereupon, his heart broken, he died, and on the next day Isabella followed him into the grave.
On the north side of Plaza General Mola rises the tower of the Teruel Cathedral, which was begun in the 13th Century and given its present form in the 16th Century. Typical of the Mudéjar style are the use of glazed bricks and the decoration with green and black azulejos. The tower over the crossing is also Mudéjar. The church itself, which was given cathedral status only in the 16th Century, dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. The Capilla Mayor has a magnificent retablo (1535) by Gabriel Joly. The fine choir screen was made in Teruel. The Capilla de la Coronación in the north aisle has a fine Flemish-style retablo.In the sacristy of the cathedral are two fine silver monstrances 3m/10ft high, a Romanesque processional cross and other valuable items.
Cathedral - Artesonado Ceiling
The finest feature of the Teruel Cathedral is its artesonado ceiling, beautifully painted in the 13th and 14th centuries with scenes of contemporary life, including hunting scenes, craftsmen at work and scenes of court life, framed in Moorish flower patterns, geometric designs and Arabic inscriptions.
Passing through the arch of the Cathedral tower we come into a square in which is the Bishop's Palace in Teruel, housing the small collection of the Diocesan Museum.
In the north of Teruel, spanning a gorge, is the aqueduct of Los Arcos, built in 1558 on the Roman model. Its lower tier is also a pedestrian bridge.
Some 40km/25mi west of Teruel, in the Sierra de Albarracín, lies the little town of Albarracín (alt. 1,182m/3,878ft), situated on the slopes above the Río Guadalaviar. In the 11th century Albarracín was a petty Moorish kingdom; later it became an independent territory held by the Azagra family; and at the beginning of the 14th century it was incorporated in Aragon. The whole town, with its picturesque narrow streets and circuit of walls, is now protected as a national monument. Something of the atmosphere of the Middle Ages still lingers in the town, particularly around the Plaza Mayor. The fine Cathedral (13th-16th centuries) contains a museum, housed in the sacristy and chapterhouse, the most valuable items in which are 16th century Brussels tapestries.
Near Albarracín (respectively 4km/2.5mi and 6km/4mi south) are two caves, El Callejón de Plou and the Cueva del Navazo, with interesting prehistoric paintings, including hunting scenes.