Teruel Exists: the city of eternal love and unique Mudéjar architecture. Never heard of it? This is why you, probably, should…
Years ago a motto “Teruel exists”(spanish:”Teruel existe”) has broken the national news media. The social campaign aimed to bring attention to the citizens of the Teruel province, those who also pay taxes and yet so little is done for them by the Spanish government in terms of roads, investments etc. A lot of families in past years have abandoned the province in search of better life, in particular jobs. It is one of these places in the heart of Spain with hot days and cold nights. Moreover, in summer it is impossible to stay on the sun. Teruel receives mostly national tourists, which is such a shame, cause the city is truly unique.
Basically, there are three main sightseeing attractions in Teruel: Mudejar architecture, Lovers of Teruel and Dinopolis. First two – you can see all in one day, but if you´d like to add Dinopolis to your travel plan, you´d need at least another day.
Mudejar Architecture (UNESCO World Heritage)
Term “Mudejar” comes from Arabic “mudajjan” and means “allowed to stay”. After the Christian “Reconquista”/ Reconquest of the Spanish peninsula in 718, a lot of Muslim population stayed. This led to a new unique (partly Gothic, partly Islamic) style of art/decoration influenced by their taste and workmanship. I absolutely loved it. Don´t miss:
Towers of San Pedro, San Miguel and Salvador
The Cathedral of Teruel
San Pedro Church
The Lovers of Teruel/ Spanish Romeo and Juliet
Two tragic deaths and one eternal love story, inspiring Spanish artists since XIII century. According to the legend, Diego and Isabel were in love since their childhood, but the girl’s wealthy family didn’t want her to marry someone out of their social class. However, they gave Diego 5 years to built a fortune, so he left the city. In 5 years he returned rich, but Isabel’s family had already arranged her marriage to another man.
To sup up, the end of the story here is kind of “Romeo and Juliet”. Diego did´t want to believe that Isabel was married to someone else, so he went to see her and asked for a kiss. She refused, cause now she belonged to another man. (And this is why, if you check the picture of the monument – you’ll notice that their hands aim to hold but don’t actually touch: the sign of this kiss she refused to give him.) The next day he died and during his funeral ceremony she passed away by his side. Therefore, the legend claims both died for love.
Eh… love stories never go out of style.
Here you can check the official website to plan your visit.
It is a large thematic space dedicated to the world of dinosaurs and paleontology. The main exposition is in Teruel, but there are also several other paleontological areas nearby (you´ll need to drive around to visit them all). At Dinopolis they have a lot of activities for kids. However, for an adult it could be an interesting experience too.
By the way, souvenirs to bring from Teruel are: a pastry “Trenza Mudejar de Teruel” and “Jamon de Teruel”. And don’t miss Albarracin (40 min drive from Teruel), one of the most beautiful rural villages in Spain.