Ibn-Racin was the name of the Berber tribe that established here with the Muslim invasion. After some time it became a Roman town. The town was called Santa María de Oriente when it was Christian…The ancient history of Albarracín begins like this, a history where protection and defense have been the premise. Today, as you walk its narrow streets and breathe the calmness, it is difficult to imagine that its location was not imagined just for pleasure but as a shelter against danger.
The amazing old part of town is just for pedestrians and very high up. If you go up on the afternoon you will see that the passageways under the arches, the stairs, the doors of the mansions, seem as if they were inhabited by mysterious shadows. Albarracín oozes an aristocratic air; you can see it in its studded doors, in the iron door knockers, in its balconies made with carved wood, in its spectacular work with wrought iron. In one of the winding streets there are little squares that open over the abysm from where the houses seem to hang. The landscape is extremely beautiful. For the construction of houses, they have traditionally used plaster instead of stone, and the color of its walls has the same color of the ravines underneath them.
If you spend the night in the town, don’t miss out on a nocturnal walk. The starry night, the solitary streets, the lights that twinkle in the ravine and the soft murmur of the Guadalaviar River are unforgettable.
A lovely story
During the Iberian route through the province of Teruel and its capital, we visited the complex of the Mausoleum and Church and Tower of San Pedro, where there is the museum dedicated to Los Amantes de Teruel.
The story of the young lovers of Teruel (Juan Diego Martínez de Marcilla and Isabel Segura), apparently comes from and old tradition of the XIII century, where a poor boy and a rich girl fall in love, the relationship being badly looked upon by the rich family. They gave the suitor a period of five years to become rich, he went to war and when he returned the girl had already got married to somebody else. Juan Diego got to ask for a kiss from Isabel, but she refused and he died of sadness. The following day she went to look at the deceased and wanted to give him the kiss which she had refused him in life, and she suddenly died next to him.
The museum uses visual elements to tell the history of the city of Teruel, along with the visit to the beautiful cloister of the church of San Pedro.
Mountainous country side carved by the rivers Matarraña and Ulldemó, full of walking routes and the possibility of going up the river and swimming in the innumerable pools which have been formed.
Due to the porosity of the land, the rivers sculpt the rock very easily and form narrow and deep passes which in summer are dry and passable on foot, although a good dip is recommended. The water of the Mataraña is colder than that of the Ulldemó.
In the village of Beceite there are various inns where we can rest and eat home-made food to regain strength.
I think the El Andador guided tours are a very interesting way to get to know the place you're visiting. Guided tours allow you to delve into the stories and legends of famous people as well as the houses and little places in an area. That's what you get when you visit El Andador, and I can assure you that between the environment and the explanations on the tour, the average visit time will fly by. I totally recommend it.
It is a jewel placed in the city centre. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site, recognising the priceless value of its tower and roof.
The cathedral in the last capital of the province is the first in Mudejar art. The recent restoration of the panelling allowed us to discover the incredible construction methods of the Mozarabs and gaze at it, in hundreds of images a live microcosm of life in Spain in the XIII century.
The bell tower is one of the oldest Mudejar towers in the city. Built between 1257 and 1258 combining stone, brick and glazed ceramics. The great pointed arch open at the lower part allows passage into the street, allowing it to fulfil the function of a public way.
It is a building which is worth an extended visit, however, unfortunately, you have to pay to go inside.
The Tower of El Salvador stands near La Puerta de Guadalaviar de Teruel and is attached to a small church with the same name. The tower is open to visitors every day of the year. It was built in the early fourteenth century and consists of two towers: the exterior is brick, and the interior is masonry, running between the two stairs. The bottom arc is covered with a ribbed vault. In decoration there are a succession of intersecting archways and a four series of loops forming eight-pointed stars combined with crosses. Both places are worth a visit when you are in Teruel. A typical example of Moorish architecture.
The little known although spectacular county of Maestrazgo does not respect boundaries: some of its villages are in Valencia and others in Aragon.
Mirambel is the most famous of the villages of the Maestrazgo of Teruel. In 1980 it was declared a historic and artistic complex and 2 years later Europa Nostra awarded it the gold medal for its restoration and improvement. Even if in its medieval streets you miss the unpainted walls and the village atmosphere of the neighbouring villages – like Tronchón, Cantavieja, and Iglesuela del Cid- it’s impossible not to admit that the village is a treasure.
Among all its corners I’ll stay with the beautiful Portal de las Monjas, situated next to the Convent of las Agustinas, the house of los Julianes, and Aliaga square, onto which the twin houses of Castellot and Aliaga look out.
When it comes to images, there are none better than that of the village surrounded by the tormented landscape of the spectacular Maestrazgo.
This is one of the branches that Dinópolis has in the province of Teruel. It’s not very big, but still quite interesting, because the entire visit is a guided tour and very well explained, both for children and for adults. During the tour we can see a lot of fossils from the ancient sea which previously covered the zone, and understand how they were formed and preserved.
Pitarque reminds me of a scene Sierra de Guara in Huesca where you see stunning canyons and vultures hovering above. However in this area, you see more vegetation in some areas. Quite surprisingly, driving the plains of Teruel for an hour, then, you come to see a change of scenery and ending up in a place like this. It is definitely one of the place to visit if you're around Teruel. They say, it's the second most visited place behind Albarraicin, but I didn't see it that way.
We took the trail of "nacimiento de Pitarque". It is a short hike - about 5 K - to reach the main site. We passed by the water falls and got a spritz of cold water. It was so refreshing that stayed there till I was soaked to walk out of the shade. Once it gets to the end, you see more people, but it wasn't that crowded; you could still find a quiet place and enjoy the sound of cascading water.
Since we didn't bring any sandwiches with us, we hiked back on time for lunch. Once we got back, we went in a bar and ordered a cold beer while waiting for our company ve walked at a slower pace.
I say this is a wonderful place to visit if you are looking something to do in Teruel area. It gives you a different scene without entering Huesca province.
The Viaduct is a mythical and keystone place in the beautiful city of Teruel. Strolling through the old town to the new area alone or with company is extraordinary. The views, the silence, the fresh air, something around you makes you feel good. The city's cold air bounces off your body to go through this small, but awesome construction. It's a unique experience.
It was Roman, it was Arabic, it belonged to the Order of Calatrava, it was besieged by French troops who then destroyed the city, it was a battle field in the Carlist wars, and in 1938 was brutally bombarded by Italian planes allied to Franco.
The heroic city of Alcañiz has a lot to tell, however, now, in peace time, the thing that makes the beautiful village proud is that since 1140, a romantic halo surrounds it thanks to being named in the beautiful “Cantar del Mio Cid”.
Alcañiz has a group of marvelous buildings, but without doubt, the most outstanding is the castle of Los Calatravos, constructed in the XII century on a crag which dominates the city and which today is used as a Parador. From the Plaza Mayor it is a delight to lose yourself in the small streets and go up on foot to the castle. The place offers some fantastic views of the county and the old roofs of Alcañiz.
Also, the Parador is really beautiful. It has little tables hidden in shady corners of the garden where it is a delight to rest and have a drink.
It is one of the best preserved urban centres in Matarraña, with many manor houses, chapels, hermitages, gateways and a town hall from the XVII century. The town has been declared a place of Historic and Artistic interest.
You have to walk along the Calle Mayor, the Plaza de España, and the Maella Street. The parochial church is incredible, it’s a pity that the access street to it is so narrow, because it does not allow you to admire it in all its glory.
The Juan Cabré museum is dedicated to this celebrated archaeologist who boosted excavations in the county. A pleasure to walk through this monumental town in Teruel.
The tower of St. Martin is the most representative aspect of Teruel. It's characterized by red brick mixed with colored tiles. This Mudejar art comes from the coexistence of Christians and Muslims, mixing two styles in their old buildings. Something that I would highlight is that the current buildings inside the old historic town center reflect that style, resulting in a pleasant architectural incorporation, which is not at all out of tune with the rest of the city.
Peracense Castle is 1 Km from the town of Peracense, on a rocky cliff about 1400 metres above sea level.
The spectacular thing about this castle is the rocky enclave in which it is situated and the natural fortress of escarpments and blocks of Rodena stone. These rocks, so characteristic of the surroundings, are a sandstone and a Triassic composite 245 million years old. This rock is very different because of its intense red colour and it is the same that is used in tiles and walls and the castle interiors, forming a complex which extends the natural shape of the lines of the castle with the rocky escarpments.
In 1987 they began the restoration of the castle which lasted 13 years. Depending on the time of the year, you can visit from 10 to 14 and 16 to 20. We paid €3 for the visit and it was worth it. We thought the countryside was also beautiful.
You can consult the actual hours in the web page of the town hall of Peracense.
The recent restoration projects done to this wall have made it one of the most beautiful medieval relics from around Europe. The first walled city was the primitive Muslim one. The second area has the most imposing walls, surrounding not only the village, but also climbing to the top of the mountain. I recommend climbing to the top of the wall, to see all of the village from above.