29 Teruel and the world of mudejar architecture

Teruel is a small, ancient city in the south of Aragon.  It was a Moorish capital and was eventually reconquered  by the Christians.  Within its walls (there are fragments of the wall as well as some towers and surviving gates),  is a feast of mudejar art and architecture, a curious blend of Christian and Moorish elements that create an unique form only found in Spain. In Teruel itself are found the finest examples of the form.


The San Martin tower is the most famous and also the hardest to photograph;  it is tucked between buildings in a typically narrow street.  The basic elements are brick and ceramics.


This close-up is actually from one of the others;  it shows clearly the decorative use of brick and ceramics as well as the reliance on geometric patterns.  There are five of these towers in the city;  very quickly they do start to look alike.


The ceiling on the narrow passageway up to the various levels in the tower has also been carefully and simply designed in brick.IMG_3722

This is the upper room, also beautifully designed, the Christian bell tower inspired my the Islamic minaret.IMG_3711

This is a warehouse of a farm co-operative, tucked away on a side street, but it also reveals the mudejar influence in its beautiful but more simply designed brickwork.   I could show you so many more corners of Teruel.  It is also well known for its modernismo architecture, in vogue in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Spain.  Gaudi was definitely influenced by it and influenced it. This building is found on the Plaza del Torico in the centre of Teruel.

IMG_3677You could  say that the upper windows are adorable, almost too adorable, but this is typical of modernismo.  Here is a beautiful simple solarium window on a more elaborate building.


My aesthetic tends to like the individual elements rather than the accumulation of them.  Teruel is not all medieval, mudejar and moderismo;  look at the impressive strength and beauty of this public building overlooking a park.IMG_3730

It takes its inspiration from castle walls;  the upper floor and upper solarium treatments are also reflect traditional architecture.

Finally I have to describe another fine lunch.  Come to Aragon and Catalonia for the great food of Spain.  On a quiet street, away from the busy public squares and outdoor cafes:  a risotto with wild mushrooms (’tis the season), small shrimp and asparagus.  I’ll say it again;  risotto fine enough to make any Italian chef envious.


Oh yes, and the red wine.  On the label a wonderful sentiment:  three centuries before this era, the Romans took care of our vines, then the Visigoths, the Arabs, the Christians and now those of us of the present day.  Second course, confit of duck in a dried fruit sauce.


Suculento!  Works in any language.  As tender and flavourful as the duck I enjoyed in a tiny village in the Pyrenees last year, at twice the price, seriously!  I did choose dessert (which I rarely do) but the ice cream was described as mudejar, probably because of the layer of cinnamon on top.

IMG_3729Very friendly service complimented the meal, two young Turolinos ready to chat with this old fart of a Canadian.  Now to head back to my amazing village for some siesta time.  The post about this village, Albarracín, will show up in a few days time.

4 thoughts on “29 Teruel and the world of mudejar architecture

  1. Annabel Mills

    How very different the architecture is from British architecture. It looks like it is lovely out and wonderful food. I’m just in from the garden where I have been wrestling with the climbing rose. Stay well! Love Annabel


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