Teruel information

Introduction to the Province of Teruel
In the east of Spain, the province of Teruel, which is part of the autonomous community of Aragon, is a mountainous, sparsely populated, rarely visited and equally under appreciated place. If your idea of Spain is one of unspoilt villages, mediaeval architecture, impressive Arabic influenced monuments, romantic history and wild open spaces, then Teruel will certainly fulfil your needs.

Teruel City
The city of Teruel was officially founded in the 12th Century but was previously an important Moorish city and indeed retained significant Muslim and Jewish populations after its reconquest by Alfonso II. Its streets and architecture are still very much redolent of its Arabic past.

Above the River Turia lies the old quarter of Teruel, the Casco Historico. Only parts of the original city walls that enclosed this area remain today. You won’t be able to miss the four enormous rose-pink Mudejar bell towers that dominate the city from every angle. The finest of these four towers is the Torre del Salvador. It is covered with intricately patterned, coloured ceramic tiles. Each of the Mudejar towers has a church of the same name, standing apart from its tower. Despite the Spanish Civil War that raged in Teruel, its finest monuments miraculously survived unscathed.

Teruel’s 12th Century Cathedral of Saint Mary is yet another outstanding example of Mudejar architecture. Its finest internal feature is the ceiling of its nave, intricately carved and decorated by Moorish artisans with a mixture of geometric Islamic patterns and mediaeval art. Another of the city’s emblematic monuments is the Torico Fountain, located in the main square of Teruel, the Plaza Carlos Castell. It is topped by a small golden sculpture of a bull.

The Church of San Pedro contains the tombs (and mummified bodies) of two legendary 13th century star-crossed lovers, Isabel de Segura and Juan Diego Martinez de Marcilla, around whom a whole mediaeval themed Lovers’ Festival has sprung up, held in Teruel every Valentine’s Day.

Around Teruel City and Beyond
Just outside the city of Teruel you will find something completely different from Moorish architecture in the form of a Dinosaur theme park, Dinopolis Teruel. It manages to be both educational and fun, with a “Jurassic Trail” and 3D cinema. Teruel is an apt location for such an attraction as it is (allegedly) where the remains of the world’s largest Dinosaur were found, near Riodeva in the east of the province.

The town of Albarracin, around 30km west of Teruel, is a breathtakingly beautiful place, set high in the Universale Mountains and overlooking the River Guadalquivir. At one time, the town was, curiously, the capital of a small independent state, the kingdom of Azagras. Exploring its steep, narrow streets and mediaeval buildings and monuments is like stepping back in time.

Believe it or not, Teruel has two very fine ski and snowboarding resorts, suitable for beginners and experts alike and which are considerably less busy than others in Spain. These two resorts are Javalambre and Aramon Valdelinares, which is located in the Gudar mountains.

The mountains of El Maestrago, north east of Teruel city, are home to the tiny hamlets of Cantavieja and Mirambel. It is an area of outstanding wild natural beauty with a rich variety of scenery, flora and fauna. It provides an ideal location for hiking or mountain biking. The castle-topped town of Alcañiz and the town Valderrobres, astride the brimming-with-trout River Matarrana, are also in the Maestrago region, and are both also worth stopping off at.

The Gastronomy of Teruel
The geography of Teruel richly influences its typical cuisine. Meats from the mountains and from the pastures, wild mushrooms and highly prized truffles from the forests, fruit from the orchards and fish from its rivers all make appearances on the menus of the region. “A La Turolense” is the term given to dishes that have been prepared under the influence of the region’s gastronomical traditions, such as Sopa de Ajo a la Turolense (garlic soup).

Teruel produces many famed hams (Jamones), also used in dishes such as Lentejas Estofados (a lentil and ham stew) and you are also likely to come across roasted meats (Asados) and trout (Trucha) on the menu.

To accompany the lovers’ tale from Teruel, they have developed a dessert known as the “Suspiros de Amantes”, which are little vanilla flavoured and sweetened cream cheese filled pies.

Although not widely known, Teruel produces some very fine wines: red, white and rose. Look out for Lledo de la Tierra.

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