Albarracín was the capital of one of the many small Moorish kingdoms, after the united caliphate broke apart in the early 11th century. Like the 20 some other taifas, the court here was synonymous with luxury, scholarship, music, poetry and scientific and medical advances. Perusing a history of the place, I came across evidence of sophisticated tools developed here to operate on cataracts. This is what I saw in the distance as I approached for the first time.
The town is situated in a powerful strategic position on a river where two gorges meet. The walls in the distance protect the rear flank. Along the river bank and climbing the sides of the gorge is the town site.
Yes I have taken this photo from up near that wall. It wasn’t that difficult a climb; count to 50 steps, take a brief rest, you can do it, you old fart! Here is another angle. Now I have to choose from dozens to give you a quick sense of the place.
Of course, the Christians, after the reconquista, ended up with the highest building. What looks like a pile of rocks to the right of the church, is the remains of the Moorish castle, the alcazar. Enough of these long shots. Here we are in downtown Albarracin; one of the remaining gates and the town’s most famous building, Casa Julineta.
It curiously makes me think of Picasso and cubism. Did he really have to wait until the twentieth century to invent it? Notice the typically narrow streets. My tiny hotel is tucked in immediately to the right of this house.
Posado del Adarve. A wonderful landlord, Pablo. Very helpful and always willing to chat; he has a library of guide and history books of the area for the use of clients on the second floor. The hotel is actually built into the defensive wall – notice the gate. Here is the view from my window. Buenos días!
Notice the cliffs on the other side. Defensive choice of the location. Toledo, Cuenca and Segovia, cities which I have visited, were all similarly located. The next photo was taken just on the other side of that gate (in the shadows to the right) looking up at the ascending wall.
And here’s the proof that I did it (as if you needed it).
I went up as far as the square tower; earlier photo was taken from there. Now for a few more town shots. This was taken just down the lane from my hotel.
In these ancient villages, some of the buildings do rise at least six, even eight stories. Amazing. Here is the street between this and my hotel.
And tucked in behind these doorways are homes, shops, bars, and restaurants. Now I didn’t take my camera. I just went out a while ago to eat lightly. The restaurant is only a few doors from the hotel. I wasn’t quite sure what the page devoted to ‘mandoditos’ was about. It turned it just another word for tapas. Without thinking, I ordered 8; the young woman said that she would choose. What a plate! What a feast! I would be embarrassed to show you the photo. I ate like an adolescent and the endorphins are multiplying (with the help of some tinto, of course.) Good night, buenas noches, mis amigos! I will gladly return here to show you around, depending on when your flight sets down.