2016 GW Spain Trip No.6: World Heritage Tour No.2 « Teruel » Mudejar style architecture in Aragon

Spain Basque journey 2016 GW
Spain Basque journey 2016 GW

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Date of visit: April 24, 2016 (overnight)

A little inconvenient, but nice Teruel.

Back to the World Heritage Tour series. On the second night in Spain, we decided to stay in a city called Teruel in Aragon.

Click here for the location of a town called Teruel.

This city is located in a rather inconvenient place. It is located on the highway between Zaragoza and Valencia, but as you can see, you have to make a big detour to get there from Madrid. It is said that there is no direct train service. Moreover, it is in the mountainous area, the altitude is over 900m, so the temperature is low even in Spain, and it seems to snow in winter.

Back alley apartment, dark but cheap and comfortable

Well, we left Rubieros de Mora, the most beautiful village in Spain, where we were just before coming to Teruel, after 5 p.m., and we arrived at Teruel before 6 p.m. It was just a good time to enter the accommodation. As usual, we took a place to stay in the old town. I had already booked a hotel in Cuenca where I stayed the day before. The hotel in Cuenca was a little expensive, so I chose a cheap place. Fortunately, Teruel is a minor tourist destination, so even if there are hotels there, they are relatively cheap!

宿泊したアパルトマン:フォンダ デル トサル

Cars are not allowed inside the old town, so you need to park outside, but the parking place has already been confirmed by Google Maps satellite photos and street view. I was able to park in the place as expected.

I didn’t take any pictures, but the caretaker was also very personable and treated me very kindly even though I didn’t speak the language very well.

Teruel, famous for its Mudejar style architecture in Aragon

So, Teruel is not so popular and not so lively, but the city itself is very nice. Some of the buildings in the city have been selected as a World Heritage Site under the name of « Mudejar Architecture of Aragon ».

ムデハル様式 (estilo mudéjar) はアラビア語で残留者を意味する「ムダッジャン」に由来する。スペインの建築様式で、レコンキスタの後、残留イスラム教徒(スペイン語:mudéjar、mudajjan)の建築様式とキリスト教建築様式が融合したスタイル。特徴は建物の壁面に幾何学文様の装飾を施している。(wikipediaより)

As you can see from the above, this place was also under the rule of Muslims until around the 12th century. However, in Aragon, Muslims stayed after the Reconquista, and many beautiful buildings were built. It is very interesting and different from other Spain.

So, you can see this « Mudejar style » architecture all over the city.

However, it doesn’t mean that the whole city is in Mudejar style. For example, in the central square, you can see the common Spanish style streets.

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However, you can occasionally see towers of this kind of design here and there in the city, for example. This kind of desiner is called Mudejar style.

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Some parts are under construction, but I thought the view from this area was very beautiful because Spanish and Mudejar style buildings are well blended together.

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And although it is not an old building, what is very impressive in typical Mudejar style is this staircase that you pass when you move from this station to the old city side. Stunning!

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San Pedro Church is the city’s main attraction

The staircase in front of the station is stunning, but the Church of San Pedro, just off the central square in an alleyway, is undoubtedly the most beautiful and must-see of Teruel’s several Mudejar buildings.

The entrance to the cathedral is guided. The entrance is a modern building as you can see. Inside, an audio guide is provided for a fee.

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However, if you look at the entrance carefully, you will see that it is called « Mausoleo de Sol Amantes » (Mausoleum of the Lovers). In fact, this mausoleum and the church of San Pedro are adjacent to each other in the same facility. The first thing to do is to visit this mausoleum.

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There are statues of two lovers lying down in a row like this.

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If you look closely, it looks like they are holding hands, but their hands are not attached to each other. Is it a little difficult to understand in the photograph?

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In the same room, there was a modern painting which is said to be based on the mausoleum of the lovers here. It was very Spanish and I liked it very much.

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Next, you will enter the interior of the Cathedral of San Pedro Church. From here, you will be guided by a guide. Mudejar style inside the cathedral, I’ve seen many cathedrals, but certainly a unique atmosphere that I’ve never experienced before. It was a moving beauty.

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The guide led us to climb the tower in the same facility. The tower itself was not a big place, but it is one of the few spots where you can see the city of Teruel from above. You can’t see the whole city, though.

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Finally, I took a picture of the whole cathedral from a place at the back of the twice on the way down the tower. This is the end of the viewing.

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I think I was able to fully experience the beauty of the Mudejar style.

Dinner at a bar near the apartment

In this area, « Hamon Serrano » is famous, so I ordered a salad with a lot of ham, but it didn’t taste particularly amazing. We weren’t particularly hungry and didn’t have any other meals, so that’s all we had for dinner. However, the wine was so good that I drank about three glasses.

I think I could have savored the prosciutto a bit more…

The next morning, the temperature was below freezing!

The next day, I checked out of the apartment, but I had paid the fee the day before, so I left the key hanging on the door of the caretaker’s office and left the apartment. Teruel is at an altitude of almost 1,000 meters, and the temperature at night was below freezing even at this time of year. The windshield of the car was frozen as proof.

It was still 3 degrees after 8am, or maybe even lower. At first I tried to break the ice on the windows by pouring water on them, but they froze immediately. I was so surprised. I was surprised, because Spain has a strong impression that it is warm and hot.