Albarracín is a small medieval town on a hill above the river Guadalaviar in the Montes Universales, about 37 km. from Teruel. Its alleys, streets, plazas and palaces have kept their medieval character and the town is so typical of its kind that it has been listed as a national monument. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain.
During Visigoth rule, Albarracín was known as Santa María de Oriente. In the 11C it was the seat of an Arab ruler, who owed feudal duties to El Cid Campeador. The town gained independence under the rule of the Azagras, who called themselves ‘Vassals of the Virgin Mary and Lords of Albarracín’. The town has fortifications dating from two
different periods. The oldest part was probably built before 1000 and stretches from the church of Santa María and the Alcazar across the Portal del Agua to the town.
The later part, with nine squares and the Torre del Andador, was built in the 11C. The defences as a whole exemplify the military architectural style of the
The main landmark of Albarracín are its walls, which are among the most famous walls in Spain (Number 1 in the ranking are the Walls of Avila). An impressive construction that climbs to the submit of a hill and reaches its highest point at the tower of el Andador. The castle boasts 11 towers and dates back to the 9th century. Albarracin was a very important military post for the islamic troops.
Santa Maria is the town’s oldest church and was begun by the Mozarabs (although it is impossible to tell the exact date of construction). The church was given its present form in the 16C by the architect Quinto Pierres Vedel. It consists of a single aisle to which several chapels were added. The chapel of Saint Francis has a Plateresque vault. The main altar, which is not of particular artistic interest, is decorated with 16C paintings of the mysteries of the rosary. In 1599 the church was affiliated to a Dominican monastery. Of this building there remains only the Torre de Doña Blanca. Its origins go back to the Middle Ages.
Built around 1200 by Bishop Don Martín as a modest church. It was rebuilt towards the end of aic lếC and again in 1532. The tower was built with Romanesque foundations towards the end of the 16C. The main chapel and altar date from 1533. The chapel of Mary Magdalene has a Renaissance altar con secrated to St. Peter. There is a cathedral museum in the chapterhouse and the col- lection of 160C Flemish tapestries is worth seeing. The treasury contains a processional cross of the 11-12C and other fine things. Despite this is not one of Spain´s most impressive cathedrals it is a must see once in Albarracin.