This is a great way to see the medieval fortress city in Spain. It’s a great tour (photos).
Good afternoon to all! Today, continuing to acquaint you with the familiar and quite unknown towns in Spain, which we visited during our travels by rental car in Spain and Portugal, I want to share our discovery, a small town that we met on the way and just could not pass by.
It’s for discoveries like this that I really love traveling around Europe by car. For the fact that you can find something for yourself which, if you don’t know, you can’t even read about on the Internet. At least when we made a plan for our trip in this part of Spain, we did not find information about it, and in vain. Because I would have put more time on this city. And would even have stayed here overnight, so I fell in love with this small town.
My review will focus on the town of Albarracín, which is located in the province of Teruel, in the Autonomous Community of Aragon (Spain).
In this town, as I said before we got there by chance. Our way from Cuenca to Teruel was just passing through it. In the latter we had to stay overnight, so we didn’t plan to stay long on the way. But to pass by such a picturesque town, and not to walk through its ancient streets, just could not.
In the city of Teruel, which will be my next review, we stayed in a simple three-star hotel Hotel Isabel de Segura 3 * (Spain, Teruel), not bad and not expensive hotel with free parking nearby and not far from the center.
You enter the town of Albarracin through a tunnel (which goes under the whole town) and immediately you are mesmerized by these old houses on rocky cliffs. There is free parking next to the road for anyone who wants to stay in this town.
The parking lot is big enough and there are a lot of places on it, we had no problem finding a place to drop the rental car. And went for a walk and explore all the attractions not a big town.
Like all the old towns that have survived and still exist today, Albarrassin has a very rich history.
The first settlement on this site was founded by the Celtic tribes. Later, when the Roman Empire was gaining power and conquering the Iberian Peninsula, these lands were passed on to it. After the fall of the Empire, these lands were settled by the Muslims for a long time, from the 9th to the 12th century A.D.
The city received its name from the Moors, after one of the Muslim rulers of the Al-Banu-Ratzin family. Strange as it may sound, but most Spanish cities got their names from the Moors, but when other rulers came and changed their power, they did not hurry to rename them. Or the new names did not take root much.
In the 12th century, after the expulsion of the Muslims by the Kingdom of Asagra, the city, along with its inhabitants, adopted the Christian faith. And became a separate state, which thanks to its protection and impregnability has been able to maintain its sovereignty over the centuries and not kneel before such strong kingdoms as Castile and Aragon, as well as part of the Muslim Valencia. This state according to the other Kingdoms consisted of rebels who did not want to submit. But no one could conquer them either, as it was an impregnable fortress city.
Today it is a good asphalted but very confusing and winding road through the mountains, but in the Middle Ages it was no easy task to get here with a large army.
But in 1284, the kingdom of Aragon, led by its king Pedro 3. And appointed a large feudal lord of the Castilian family to rule these lands, who in turn took the daughter of the previous rulers as his wife. That is to say, there is no easy way to sort it out. From these times, this city became part of the lands of the crown of Aragon.
In the meantime, we climb up the stairs to get to the city on the rock itself.
Honestly, the old houses standing on the cliff with barred windows, just amazes and surprises. Here it is medieval Spain in modern life.
It’s amazing how people have built houses with wooden ceilings that have stood for centuries.
It is amazing how every extra inch of space is used.
Today there are about 1,000 people living in the city, many of them leave for the work week in larger neighboring cities, and return home, only for the weekend. The rest of the population works in the city’s main source of income is tourism.
It is among the Russian tourists this city is not popular, but it’s for nothing. But there are enough European tourists here.
Even very strange that this city has not entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s really worthy of this city. But maybe it’s because of its low popularity.
Walking through these narrow streets is a pleasure, it feels the spirit of the time and that these stones and walls keep the history.
We arrived in the city during siesta, so other than the tourists, there was no one on the street. But strangely enough cafe-bar, where we went for a cup of coffee was working in spite of the time. Not just worked, there were no seats at the tables. We were only offered a seat at the bar.
From this part of town there is a view of another part of town, the town itself is located in a semi-circle, on the relief of the mountain.
Here is another small group of tourists. Tourists are of course, but they are very few.
There are a sufficient number of bars and cheap hotels, where you can stay overnight. If you like to stay in the old houses, this is the place for you. There are no modern houses here.
The local cat, merges with the local atmosphere. Even the cats here are the same color as the walls of the houses.
Of course, this is an amazing place, where little has changed since the Middle Ages. Modern houses did not come here.
The central square of the city.
This is how this central square looks from the other side.
On the outskirts of the city, if you look closely, you can see a fortress wall, which goes around the entire city.
This is the main attraction of the city is the fortress wall and the ancient fortification of Andador with the main tower of Torre del Andador. From here you can enjoy stunning views of the city. Part of the castle Andador, or rather part of the walls survived. But the way there is still a lot of work. If you look at the picture above, you can see this path.
Unfortunately we did not go to the castle itself, we had no time. And it’s a pity, we wanted to go back to this small town.
The fortress was built by the Arabs, who had ruled and lived here for a long time. Moreover, under the Moors, it was a very developed city, where there was a lot of culture and medicine. From the medical instruments found here, scientists have established that the Moors could perform eye surgery.
The fortress wall up close.
In the meantime, we return to our car to drive on.
But this time we chose the lower road, so we could go straight back to the parking lot.
There is a small park, a bridge and a river.
For these places, quite a green city.
There is a playground below.
To summarize, I want to say that this is an amazing city on a rock, which is a must visit. I certainly recommend it.
Because in the town of Albarracin, one wants to come back again and explore everything well including its surroundings.
The pink town of Albarracín in Spain, stands above a gorge among the cliffs of the Sierra de Albarracín, to the left of the Guadalaviaira River.
One of the most beautiful places in Spain is rightly considered the town of Albarracín. This conclusion was made in 2005 by the experts in the field of tourism. The city is distinguished by its unique geographical location, its history and fascinating nature. In 1961, Albarrassin was declared a national treasure.
The castle city of Albarracin
The city is located in the mountainous areas of central Spain. Its population does not exceed a thousand people. The landscapes surrounding the town are lush green meadows, rivers, and a group of mountains called the Sierra de Albarracín.
The late 19th century Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gaset described Albarracín as a town with a fairy-tale silhouette. Perched on top of a cliff at 1,200 meters above sea level, the city resembles a bird’s nest. This resemblance has not gone unnoticed. Over the hundreds of years of its history, Albarrassin has acquired the nickname “the eagle’s nest”. The deep gorge surrounding the city serves as an impregnable fortress moat. Albarracín itself, thanks to this location, is a true natural bastion.
The history of Albarrassin dates back to ancient times. Already then, the richness of the land attracted many settlers. The rock carvings found in the local caves tell a lot about the life of the first inhabitants. Artists skillfully depicted scenes of everyday life of people, big bulls and other animals. The caves are thought to have been the site of town and religious meetings. Archaeological evidence suggests that emperor worship was common in the area.
In the first century AD the area was conquered by the Romans, subjugating the local Celtic tribe. Under Roman rule the city was built a unique aqueduct. It is 18 kilometers long. The aqueduct is considered the most complex structure in Spain.
The reign of the Muslims from the IX to the XII century gave the city a beautiful name Albarrassin, derived from the name of the Berber rich settlers Banu-Razin. This period was a time of rapid prosperity for the city. Culture and science flourished there. Medieval medicine also made great strides. The surgical instruments found here prove that even cataracts were operated on by the town’s physicians of the past.
Albarracin has not changed much since those early days. There are no new, modern buildings in the city. Tourists will be able to consider examples of ancient architecture. The most famous structures are the “Azure House” and the “Abode of Julianeta”.
The buildings in the past were built of wood and then covered with plaster. Lighter in weight than stone, these building materials made it easier to build houses at great heights.
Since it was difficult to have extra space in the city, houses were built right on the edge of the precipice. For this reason, those who are afraid of heights are advised not to look out of the windows of such “hovering” buildings and not to look down.
In the center of Albarrassin rises a majestic Moorish castle. In the 16th century was built a unique cathedral in the Gothic style and the town hall, shaped like a horseshoe.
Nature lovers will also not be disappointed with the local scenery. The area has a great variety of ecosystems, a rich world of flora and fauna. The silver threads of waterfalls falling from the mountain slopes, crystal-clear bodies of water, streams and the beautiful starry sky will be remembered by visitors for a lifetime.
Located not far from the city, the Montes Universales Reserve boasts even today an abundance of various game, wild boars and deer.