Yes, it does, and actually, I feel a bit uncomfortable to write like this about such a nice, friendly, culturally important, and architecture-wise super interesting and picturesque town, a capital of a province in Aragon. Also makes me a bit disappointed the fact that people have to be reminded that this area does exist and should be marked also on the popular tourist maps & itineraries of Spain. Why so? This article will help you to understand all the treasures that the capital of Teruel province can provide us with, as well as present you a short intro to Albarracín and Ojos Negros Greenway, because indeed Teruel exists!
- 1 Teruel Existe
- 2 What to see in Teruel
- 3 The Islamic influence on Teruel’s architecture
- 4 Where to stay in Teruel
- 5 How to get to Teruel
- 6 What to visit nearby
Teruel Existe is a spontaneous, plural, independent citizen movement open to all social organizations – founded in November 1999. For more than 18 years, it has been demanding investments and infrastructures that allow to stop the depopulation of the province and asking for fair and equal treatment for the people of Teruel. “#TeruelExiste” that’s how it all began.
What to see in Teruel
Mausoleo de los Amantes
Teruel is often called “a city of legends” thanks to the famous story of the “Lovers of Teruel” – “Los Amantes de Teruel”. The current Mausoleum of the Amantes was inaugurated in September of 2005. The building, designed by the architect Alejandro Cañada, offers numerous exposition halls whose goal is to offer more insight into the History of the Amantes.
History of the Amantes
“In Teruel, a young man named Juan Martinez de Marcilla fell in love with Isabel de Segura, daughter of Pedro Segura. The father had no other female child and was a very wealthy man. The two fell in love upon first meeting. The young Juan asked for Isabel’s hand in marriage, and she responded with equal enthusiasm. However, Isabel said that it would not be possible without their parents’ consent. Knowing this, Juan still wanted Isabel as his wife. He was a good man, though not a wealthy one. The young man asked his beloved to wait for him for five years while he moved heaven and earth to gain money and therefore convince Isabel’s father to bless the marriage. She agreed and promised to wait for his return. A war against the Moors fought both on land and on the sea, would allow the young Juan to earn one thousand old coins at the end of the five years. During this time, Isabel was consistently pushed by her father to marry another man. Her response to her father was always that she had promised to remain a virgin until the age of twenty, and that she had to be of mature age in order to be able to run a household before getting married. Due to her father’s love for her, Pedro accepted her refusal to wed another man. Five years pass and Pedro tells his daughter: My darling, my desire is simply for you to find a companion. Isabel, having waited the promised five years for her love, with no news, told her father that she would accept and find another man. Soon after, her father found her someone and they were soon after wed. At this point, Juan returned. Juan got close to his love’s bedside and asked her to kiss him, or he would die. She responded that God would not want her to betray her husband. For the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to find another woman, I am no longer available and you should forget me. If this does not please God, then it does not please me either. Juan asks a second time for a kiss, or he would suffer death. She said that she would not kiss him. Juan then died at her feet. Isabel, who could see him perfectly thanks to the lighting in the room, began to tremble and awoke her husband claiming that he was snoring so loud that it scared her. She asked him to tell her something. He told her a joke. She then told him that there was something else: what truly happened to Juan…that he died with his last breath, begging her to kiss him. Her husband then answered: Oh! How tragic, and why did you not kiss him? Isabel responded that she did not want to betray her husband. Certainly, he said, for you are honorable. So, he got up, uncertain of what to do. He said: If people found out he died here, they would think that I killed him and I would be placed in a difficult position. The couple agreed to move Juan’s body to the house of his father. All of this was done in secret, without being seen or heard by anyone… The young Segura began to think about Juan and how much he had loved her and had done for her and how simply refusing to kiss him, killed him. She decided then that she would kiss him one last time before he was buried beneath the earth. She then went to the Church of San Pedro. The weeping women all looked at her. Isabel ignored them and focused solely on the deceased. She found his face and kissed him with so much passion, that she died. Onlookers went up to her in order to remove her from Juan’s body when they realized suddenly that she was dead. Her husband then told the truth to everyone present and made the decision to bury the Amantes together in the same tomb.”
The stories and scenes that surround this history are numerous, but a saying is still alive and being used in everyday Spanish: “Los amantes de Teruel: tonta ella y tonto él” 😁
Plaza de Toros
Teruel’s bullring is a Neo-Mudejar style bullring. The building was built in 1934, as in 1929 the old bullring (that was built in 1850) had been declared in ruin and was completely demolished in 1933. The new bullring was projected in the Ensanche de Teruel, the new part of the city that houses the expansion towards the south of the city. This location caused controversy because the construction of the provincial prison was expected on the ground. The architect in charge of the works was José Antonio Muñoz and the contractor José Plaza, who used the plans of Santiago Gisbert. The work was mainly financed by the Teruel City Council (which paid 50% of the cost, remaining as the owner of the place).
The Teruel stairway – also known as the “La Escalinata de Teruel” is a Neo-Mudejar monumental construction to bridge the gap between the “Central Railway Station of Aragón” and the old town. The emblematic and beautifully decorated stairway was built in the early twenties by the engineer José Torán de la Rad. It was also declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC), in the category of Monument.
Plaza del Torico
The most central streets of the city lead into the Plaza del Torico, in which centee stands a column with a small sculpture of a bull on the top, which has become the symbol of the city. Around the square we can admire various Modernist façades from the beginning of the 20th century.
Acueducto de los Arcos
The Acueducto de los Arcos is physically dividing the city of Teruel between its medieval and modern areas. It is an aqueduct and a viaduct at once, as the pillars of the second body are open to traffic. It is the work of the Frenchman Quinto Pierres Vedel and was begun in 1537, its construction being prolonged throughout the whole of the 16th century. It has two floors with series of arches.
The city hall of Teruel is located on the Cathedral square and it is impossible to miss with its old stone columns and vivid yellow colour.
The Mudejar Towers
Teruel preserves an important medieval legacy in its historic center. The Cathedral tower – built in the 12th century, along with the towers of San Salvador – with its brick façade, double series of arches, and rich decoration with ceramic details, San Martín, and San Pedro – are almost identical to it and all together they are undoubtedly are the jewels of Teruel. This group of Mudejar monuments was also declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Islamic influence on Teruel’s architecture
From the earliest times, various prehistoric and Iberian civilizations settled in the immediate area of the present day of Teruel. The emergence and development of this city reached its peak during the Middle Ages, when a wall was built around its perimeter when it found itself in Christian land on the border with the Muslim kingdom of Valencia. It was precisely this Islamic influence that left in Teruel and Aragon the most important Mudejar monumental site in Spain, in a style that fused Gothic with Muslim architectural elements.
Where to stay in Teruel
Teruel as the capital of a province has a lot of accommodation option for travellers. Here we are listing our favorites, feel free to book via our discount links and save some money! 😉
- Hotel Teruel Plaza – click here to book
- Hotel Isabel de Segura – click here to book
- Fonda Del Tozal – click here to book
- Gran Hotel Botánicos – click here to book
- Sercotel Torico Plaza – click here to book
For more option, search here:
How to get to Teruel
- From Zaragoza: The shortest way takes 1 hour and 38 minutes (171 km), on A-23 road
- From Huesca: The shortest way takes 2 hours and 17 minutes (249 km), also on A-23 road
- From Barcelona: The shortest way takes 4 hours and 30 minutes (424 km), on AP-7 highway
- From Madrid: The shortest way takes 3 hours and 17 minutes (303 km), onA-2 és N-211
What to visit nearby
You cannot find any list of the most recommended Spanish locations without being Albarracín mentioned. And this amazingly beautiful Mudejar village is located only 30 km far from Teruel capital. Hence it is definitely one of the best point where you can go for a shorter excursion. It doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to travel a bit back in time and to get lost in this indeed perfectly picturesque village.
Ojos Negros Greenway
Ojos Negros is a municipality located in the province of Teruel. According to the data from 2004, the municipality has a population of 531 inhabitants. It is a mining town located close to Sierra Menera, a range much scarred by open-pit mining. The town is located at the start of the Ojos Negros Greenway, which follows the route of the original mining railway to the town of Puerto de Sagunto in the Valencian Community.
The Ojos Negros Greenway (la Vía Verde de Ojos Negros, in Spanish, also known as la Vía Minera), is a 160-kilometer greenway. Divided into two sections, it forms part of Spain’s 2,700 kilometers “Via Verde” rail-trail network, which is coordinated and promoted by the Spanish Railways Foundation (Fundación de los ferrocarriles españoles). It is currently the longest greenway in Spain.
Check out the best activities on the Ojos Negros Greenway!