It's easy to get lost in Albarracin - but that's the beauty of the place. The narrow lanes between the tall houses intertwine, up hill and down. But, it's such a small place (in spite of the massive crenellated walls) that you soon find yourself somewhere recognisable. It's a place to enjoy at leisure.
Do note, the town is split into two parts - so you have to remember which part you're lost in!
This is the only house in the whole of Albarracin that is not painted pinkie orange! I bet the people who live here are real rebels; revolutionaries; people who don't like to follow the crowd!
Anyway, blue is my favourite colour and I loved turning the corner to find such a nice big blue surprise! It really complements the pinkie orange too!
From 1012 to 1104 Albarracin was a small Islamic state ruled by Banu Razin of the Berber dynasty.
From 1170 to 1285 it came under the Christian Kingdom of the Azagra family. Where between 1165 and 1333 it was the centre of it's own independent state, the Kingdom of the Azagras.
Walking around the narrow streets; between the orangey pink bulging buildings I half expected to see a woman throw a bucket of slop out onto the street or two podgy middle aged men with beer guts to fall out of the local tavern sloshing tankards of beer and singing!
Only the odd brightly coloured tourist, street sign or inconsiderate car spoil this image!
We were the only foreigners there. I can't believe the Spanish have kept this amazingly well preserved medieval town a secret for so long! To me this is the most beautiful place I've seen in Spain; better than Granada, Cuenca, Ronda, Sevilla etc...
Everything was so well preserved you really felt you had gone back in time........
Try and travel in the daylight because the countryside is absolutely stunning. I have always wanted to go to Utah to see those incredible red rock formations; now I don't have to because they have them in Aragon too!
This photo was was taken from my car window as we left Albarracin and headed for Cuenca! Along other parts of the road the rock is even redder, though my photos of them all turned out blurry and plus it was raining which made taking photos through the windscreen difficult!
Plaza Mayor is the main square in which you can see the very medieval town hall building on one side and lovely old medieval houses on the other!
Most roads lead from or to here. There is a little shop selling postcards and things and the Tourist Information is off one of the roads (the one heading out or maybe in to town depending on the way you look at it).
The Julianeta house is one of the most characteristic in Albarracín. It is located at the confluence of two streets that leed to one of town gates and has an amazing shape: narrower in the lower part that at the top, there is not a single straight wall in the whole building. And that all, many year before that Picasso guy figured out his excentric Cubist style!
The cathedral has clear Mudéjar influences. Although it was built in the XIII century, its present aspect is due mostly to the works done in the XVI century.
Due to the lack of space, the cathedral is based of a single nave and a tower, with no monumental façade. In front of it there is a terrace that overlooks the whole town of Albarracín.
Many houses are decorated with beautiful wooden balconies. They are sometimes some close to the opposite side of the street, that the people usually seat at their balconies and keep conversations with their neighbours.
The houses that hang over the gorge defy all the rules of gravity. No need to say, however, that their builders were masters in their job, as they have stood there for centuries.
The buildings combine the stone with wood and gips, so that the walls and structure are lighter.
A complicated orography and the sparseness of the available space has resulted in houses being built in the most unsuspected places. The traditional buildings match perfectly into the environment, even to a point where it is difficult to tell what is man-made and what is natural.
As usual in Spanish towns, the Plaza is the happening and gathering place. Albarracín's Main Square is particularly picturesque because of its small size that accomodates to the limited available space. The historic U-shaped, porticoed Town hall presides over the plaza. This curious building, from the XVI century, is of a remarkable rural simplicity and has a mirador over the gorge on one of its sides.
The defense of Albarracín was completed with two fortresses or "alcázares". One of them is located in the lower town and the most impressive one is on a hill behind the cathedral.
You can haardly appreciate its silouhette in this picture, for it was not possible to visit it by the time this picture was taken.
but they still offer the best perspective over Albarracín's rooves and the adjacent valleys.
The walls have been partially restored and consolidated so that it is possible to walk around them and even to climb them at certain spots.