Visitors to Spain, or residents of the country will all, no doubt, have their own ideas of what is “the most beautiful town in Spain.” And it`s a fact that within Spain lies a number of picturesque town and villages, many of which could rightfully hold the title. One group of tourist representatives accorded the accolade “the most beautiful town in Spain” to a place which receives over 100,000 tourists every year – Albarracin. Considering the town only has around 1,000 inhabitants they are very much outnumbered by visitors.
Photo courtesy of Spain-Info.com
Albarracin is located in the province of Teruel, part of Aragon in central Spain. Not only has it only been recognised by tourist officials, but by the Spanish government too. It declared Albarracin as a national monument, back in 1961.
The town is very old, and attracted setters easily due to its location and the abundance of game for plentiful food supplies. It is surrounded by meadows, rivers, and mountains. One mountain range is the Sierra de Albarracin. This mountain range has an abundance of flora and fauna. Within the wooded mountains are to be found springs and waterfalls.
Cave paintings depict a variety of animals which may be thousands of years old. Possibly these caves were used long ago for locals to meet up together. Close to Albarracin, in the reserve of Montes Universales, animals such as wild boar and small game can be found. The Guadalaviar is reputed to be one of the best trout rivers in the whole of Spain.
Like many places in Europe `ownership` of the Albarracin region changed hands on a number of occasions. At one time the Romans had a big influence there, building an aquaduct some 18 km in length. It seems that Roman emperor worship was prevalent at this time as the Romans developed small societies in villages in the area.
By the ninth century there was a big Muslim influence due to the Moors. The belief is that the name Albarracin is derived from the name of the Muslims who settled in the area, the Berber clan Banu Razin. Generally it was a time of prosperity as people from various nationalities and religions lived together amicably.
Location of Albarracin
Having the nickname Eagles` Nest is very fitting for the village, as Albarracin is built on an outcrop of rock that stands over 1,200 m above sea level. The deep gorge which surrounds it is like a defensive moat. These natural geographical features have served as a strong defence over the centuries.
The great thing about the town is that it remains virtually unchanged year on year, decade by decade. Many of Albarracin`s streets are narrow and cobbled. Unconventionally, many houses aren`t built with stone, they are constructed of wood and plaster. Windows tend to be small, the eaves are overlapped, and balconies are often beautifully carved. As space was at a premium the locals would build virtually anywhere there was enough space, even right on the edge of a precipice.
Even today is to be seen a Moorish castle overlooking the town of Albarracin. This is a great place for visitors interested in history, as is the Torre del Andador, part of the original wall built by the Arabs in the tenth century.There are several campsites in the area, and the village of Albarracin has some nice hotels too.
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