Teruel

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Teruel (Spanish pronunciation: [teˈɾwel]) is a town in Aragon, eastern Spain, and the capital of Teruel Province. It has a population of 34,240 in 2006 making it one of the least populated province capitals in the country. It is noted for its harsh climate (hot in summer and very cold in winter), its renowned jamón serrano (cured ham), its pottery, its surrounding archaeological sites with some of the oldest dinosaur remains of the Iberian Peninsula, and its famous Fiestas (La vaquilla del ángel during the second weekend of July and "Bodas de Isabel de Segura" around the third weekend of February). Teruel is regarded as the "town of mudéjar" due to numerous buildings designed in this style. All of them are comprised in the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

Teruel's remote and mountainous location (it is 915 metres above sea level) and its low population has led to relative isolation within Spain. A campaign group with the slogan Teruel existe ("Teruel exists") was founded in 1999 to press for greater recognition and investment in the town and the province. Due in part to the campaign, transport connections to Teruel are being greatly improved with the construction of a motorway between Zaragoza and Sagunto, large parts of which are now open. However, Teruel remains the only provincial capital in Spain without a direct railway link to the capital, Madrid.

Contents

History

Teruel was founded in 1176 by Sancho Sánchez Muñoz and Blasco Garcés Marcilla. In the Middle Ages Teruel possessed a prominent Jewish community, which was robust during the centuries Muslim Arabs were in power and enjoyed several privileges. Later on after the Christian reconquest of Spain, the Jewish community paid a yearly tax of 300 sueldos (in the 14th century). Its members were engaged in commerce and industry, especially in wool-weaving. During the persecutions of 1391 many of them were killed, while others accepted Christianity in order to save their lives.[1]

Teruel was fought over in the Spanish Civil War and suffered much destruction. The Battle of Teruel in December 1937-February 1938, was one of the bloodiest of the war. The town changed hands several times, first falling to the Republicans and eventually being re-taken by the Nationalists. In the course of the fighting, Teruel was subjected to heavy artillery and aerial bombardment. The two sides suffered up to 100,000 casualties between them in the three month battle.

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