The first references to Teruel appear in the Muslim chronicles of the 10th century. Its history and culture can be clearly felt through buildings and architecture that resonate its medieval past. Teruel is one of Spains best examples of Arogonese medieval urbanism.
In the 17th and 18th century, Teruel underwent important remodeling and reforms of all religious buildings and new palaces rose out of the Renaissance influence. During the first third of the 20th century a remarkable development of modern architecture took place in Teruel. Examples can be seen in the buildings located around the seat of the Torico.
Teruel has experienced a great deal of fighting and unrest throughout the centuries. The Romans were the first to capture and civilize Celtiberian Turba. In 1171 Teruel was recaptured for Christian Spain by Alfonso II but many Muslims continued to live peacefully in the city.
Teruel provides a real glimpse into the past with examples of gothic, mudejar and baroque architecture and also cave paintings. There are also numerous castles and fortifications, hermitages and other buildings of historical interest. The mudejar monuments have been declared a world heritage site.
The Lovers of Teruel
According to legend in the 13th-century, two young people from Teruel, Diego de Marcilla and Isabel de Segura, fell in love and wished to marry. She came from a wealthy family, but he was poor, and so her parents forbade the match.
Diego was given five years in which to make his fortune and establish a name for himself. At the end of this time he returned to Teruel, laden with weath, only to find his bride-to-be had already married to a local nobleman. Diego died of a broken heart and Isabel, full of despair at his death, died the following day.
Places of interest in Teruel
The medieval Albarracin
One of the most extraordinary medieval towns to be found anywhere in the whole of Spain is Albarracin – a beautifully preserved, picture-postcard confection of steep cobbled streets lined with charming houses bedecked with flower filled wooden balconies. The walled town, 28 kilometres north west of the city of Teruel, was the only Moorish village in Spain to be handed over peacefully to the Christian armies during the centuries-long battle to oust the Arab invaders.
The old quarter is home to the wedge shaped Plaza del Torico, with a monument of a small bull, the city’s emblem.
Within walking distance lie the five remaining Mudejar towers. Most striking are those of San Salvador and San Martin, both dating back to the 12th century.
Inside the Iglesia de San Pedro are the tombs of the famous Lovers of Teruel.
The Cathedral has more colourful Mudejar work, including a lantern dome of glazed tiles, and a tower completed in the 17th century. The dazzling coffered ceiling is painted with lively scenes of medieval life.
The Museo Provincial, one of Aragon´s best museums, is housed in an elegant mansion. It has a large collection of ceramics, testifying to an industry for which Teruel has long been known.
North of the centre is the Acueducto de los Arcos, a 16th century aqueduct.
From a distance, two buildings rise above the town of Alcaniz. One is the Castle, which was the headquarters of the Order of Calatrava in the 12th century. This building is now a parador and the keep, the Torre del Homenaje, has a collection of 14th century frescoes depicting the conquest of Valencia by Jaime I. The other building is the Colegiata de Santa Maria. This church , on the sloping Plaza de Espana, has a gothic tower and a baroque façade.
Just inside Aragon´s border with Catalunya, this delightful town overlooks the shallow, trout filled Rio Matarrana. Dominating the town is the restored Castle.