An April 2005 trip
to Valencia by davidx
Quote: Valencia was offered at a low price from Manchester by Jet2. As well as Valencia, I wanted to see the Mudejar architecture of Teruel, the Maestrazgo Mountains, and the town of Morella. There was one disappointment, but in general, that's what I did.
It’s a bit surprising that a small capital of a little-known province should be the site for the most magnificent display of towers in the Mudejar style in the whole of Spain, but that’s the case.
Mudejar is a distinctly Spanish style of architecture, inspired by Moorish architects working on Christian buildings after the re-conquest. Hence, the marvellous churches of Teruel, which will be described on their own page, were built as churches, not mosques. I was saddened that my photos don’t give a good idea of the delicate use of colour in the towers, but I’ve since found it difficult to find any websites that do – not a relief!
http://www.spain.info/TourSpain/Arte%20y%20Cultura/Conjuntos%20monumentales/B/TH/0/Arquitectura%20Mudejar%20de%20Teruel is a general introduction to Mudejar architecture, and the towers found later on their own page can all be located from there.
Not everything worth seeing in Teruel is Mudejar. The unexpectedly excellent Provincial Museum and the Acueducto de los Arcos are fine examples of Renaissance architecture, and there are many modernist buildings.
If, like me, you should arrive at Teruel in the dark, be very wary about setting off up the staircase opposite the station, unless you are good at LONG staircases. Otherwise, go well to your left and follow the motor route UP into the city. An arrival at the bus station doesn’t present the same sort of problem, because it’s significantly higher. Cross the road, turn right, and then go left towards the church of San Pedro, from where you are near most places you are likely to want. Other than the cathedral, the place that you are most likely to hear in any directions is the Plaza de Torico [little bull – NOT white and it doesn’t go a long way!], named after a statue in its centre.
Considerable research had persuaded me that there are two buses a day from Morella to Castellón. In April, there is not. [Rough Guide – are you reading this?]. I had either to leave in just over half an hour [7:40am] or stay the night. If I’d only known! Morella is a lovely walled town, and there’s a castle at the very top that can be seen from miles away – the sort of walk up that would take me hours with stops [heart problems].
Once at Castellón, you may like to make the rail journey to Valencia in two stages and have a look at Sagunto on your way. There’s a modernised Roman theatre that now has outdoor performances and an old fort above. You may well be impressed by the size of the street market.
Attraction | "The Mudejar Towers"
First comes the Cathedral, though the tower is best seen from a bit farther away, as the mixture of styles in the building may not be considered wholly sympathetic. The feature of the Cathedral that could not excite a surfeit of admiration is the wonderful ceiling. It deserves all it gets.
The oldest of the towers is that of San Martín. It was being restored when I was there, but seen along the street from by the Ayuntamiento [Town Hall], it still looked pretty glorious. However, my favourite was one very like San Martín - that of El Salvador. Both these towers have very plain inner towers, but it’s only El Salvador that has steps between the two towers facilitating ascent. The view must be terrific. The street that passes under this tower runs steeply down from the Plaza de Torico and provides a stunning picture in the morning sun.
Lastly, we reach San Pedro. The website likens its tower to a smaller version of the Cathedral, but again, restoration work [the downside of out-of-season travel] made the exterior less than photogenic. However, more people are probably attracted to the inside anyway, because this leads to the mausoleum of the Amantes [Lovers] of Teruel. [See separate entry.] Perhaps I lack romance, but I was more impressed by the internal decoration of the church than by their alabaster tombs. Not a brick, not a pane of glass is missed – everything is ornate, and yet, instead of the brash horror that this would seem to convey, I found it strikingly beautiful.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 3, 2005
Near the Plaza de Torico
Attraction | "Los Amantes de Teruel"
Am I the only one to feel a bit sorry for A.N. Other? A 5-year-wait for so little!
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 3, 2005
Amantes de Teruel
San Pedro [tombs]
Why it doesn't get a bit more enthusiasm from the guidebooks beats me. There are careful presentations of early industry and portrayals of cave art in the basement, and whole floors above are given respectively to the Roman age and the Iberian age [6-4th ceturies BCE - the best I have seen for this], as well as great ceramics presentations [rivalling the national museum in Valencia] on other floors.
Wonderful views from the arcaded floor above the exhibits. And it's FREE!
near the Cathedral
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2005
Acueducto De Los Arcos
Attraction | "Charming Cantavieja"
There are really only two major sights in the village itself, the main church and the arcaded group of buildings that contains the ayuntamiento [town hall] and TIC.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 3, 2005
Todmorden, United Kingdom