Teruel, Up, Up On The Mountain

La Escalinata (Teruel)

I know it's been a while, but I guess I got hooked up with life, not to say a bit lazy, but time is our eternal enemy and that's a very good excuse.

In mid october I went for a day trip to Teruel, a small mountainous Spanish city north of Valencia, in the Aragon Province, best known for it's Lovers and Mudejar architecture style.  

First of all when you walk on Teruelesque earth comming from the train stration you are welcomed by La Escalinata, a quite long stair, to keep you fit. This stair is made in a beautiful Mudejar style and it's like nothing I've ever seen before.

Teruel city center is only a 5 minutes walk from La Escalinata and the Tourist Information Office is just at the left of La Escalinata. As I said at the beginning, Teruel is a small city, small enough for it's inhabitants to start in 1999 a campaign with the slogan "Teruel existe" ("Teruel exists"). Well, it does. I've been there, I've seen it with my own eyes. You can take my word for it. Teruel is there, small but strong, exactly like its Torico, a small 60kg bronze statue reprezenting a bull, on top of a tall column in the middle of Teruel's main square.

Teruel's other symbol are The Lovers of Teruel. The story of the Lovers took place in 1217. But people of Teruel still remember them, probably mainly to the mausoleum in the San Pedro's Church housing the mummified bodies of Isabel Segura (a rich lady) and Diego de Marcilla (a poor man who battled at Crusades to earn some money with the intention to return to get married with Isabel) whose love ended tragically. It's kind of a Romeo and Juliet love story. Diego went away to gather wealth and Isabela was supposed to wait for him 5 years. Diego was not heard from in those five years and so on the day of the five years' close Isabel's father married her to somebody else. Right after the wedding ceremony Diego shows up with great riches but there was nothing he could do. So that night, Diego sneaks into the bedroom of Isabel and her husband and gently awoke her. He pleaded to her, "Kiss me for I am dying", but she refused. Upon hearing this Diego could not bear the separation between himself and his love, and with a sigh he died on the feet of his beloved Isabel. The next day, during Diego's funeral, Isabel showed up dressed in her wedding dress. She proceeded to walk to the front of the church and place a kiss on the man whom she had refused but in doing so Isabel died, falling prostrate on the body of the man whom she loved.

The mausoleum of The Lovers of Teruel

And the Lovers story at the top of La Escalinata

The San Pedro Church is a magnificent mudejar style church. I loved the interior, so rich in detail and color. The Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon is a World Heritage Site in Spain. Mudéjar is the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Christian territory after the Reconquista but were not converted to Christianity. It also denotes a style of Iberian architecture and decoration, particularly of Aragon and Castile, of the 12th to 16th centuries, strongly influenced by Moorish taste and workmanship.

San Pedro Church (Teruel)

The Cathedral is also in Mudejar style and though the interior didn't impress me that much in general, it's ceiling amazed me, especialy that the guided tour takes you up through the tower next to the ceiling so you can see it from up close.

Teruel Cathedral

The San Martín Tower from the 13th century is considered to be the most beautiful in Teruel.

San Martín Tower (Teruel)

Teruel Town Hall Square

Teruel is seeable in 4 hours and you can still take your time to have lunch. Teruel is well known for its jamón serrano (cured ham), but they also have very good cheese. Yummy! I'm craving for them right now.

Teruel is also known for it't pottery so if you know you have hungry for gifts big children waiting for you at home, you don't have to look far.

One more tip and I'm out of here. Teruel is noted for its harsh climate (hot in summer and very cold in winter), it is situated at 915 metres above sea level so if you go visit during the winter time, be prepared for snow. This being said, I'm going for a walk 'cause it's sunny outside and I need my tan nice and ready for my Las Fallas pictures, comming up next.

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