Teruel, a different kind of tourism: the Routes of the 'Tambor' and the 'Bombo' (drums), the Cold Vaults and the Prisons
If you're planning a trip, you can make it even more interesting if you include a few original and unusual options. This is just what we suggest on your visit to Teruel. Come and explore these lands in the Bajo Aragón area through these three different themes: its most traditional local festivities, its old prisons and its ice vaults. Would you like to know more?
Route of the Tambor and the Bombo (drum route)
The villages of Andorra, Híjar, Calanda, Alcañiz, Samper de Calanda, La Puebla de Híjar, Urrea de Gaén, Alcorisa and Albalate del Arzobispo all take part in this festival. And that's because they all have something very special in common. During the religious festival of Easter Week (held in March or April and commemorating Christ's passion and death), many of the religious events are accompanied by massed bands of musicians playing hundreds of the types of drums known as the tambor and the bombo in a spectacular and moving soundscape. This is an experience of a lifetime.
You can take part in the Days in Praise of the Route of the Tambor and the Bombo which are celebrated in rotation by the nine villages just before Easter Week, and which feature the religious brotherhoods from all the locations along the Route. To find out more about this attraction, we recommend you visit the Easter Week Visitor Centres in Alcorisa, Samper de Calanda and La Puebla de Híjar, where you'll also be able to see the processional floats and carved religious images, and the habits of the religious brotherhoods. Here are a few of the other interesting options you'll can see in these places: Among the attractions in Andorra you'll find the Mining Park and the Pozo de San Juan mine. Also interesting are the Iberian settlement and the Andorra Pastor Centre, dedicated to the local folklore and featuring a series of audiovisual displays. There are excellent views from the San Macario park. Híjar has three very different neighbourhoods representing three cultures: the town (Christian), the parish (Morisco, or Muslims converted to Christianity) and San Antón (Jewish). In Calanda you'll find the original Buñuel Centre. And of course, you can't possibly leave without trying its famous peaches. Highlights of La Puebla de Híjar include the church of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad and the shrines of the Virgin of Los Dolores and El Santo Sepulcro. In Alcañiz it is well worth visiting the Gothic market, the Baroque ex-collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor and the imposing castle that once belonged to the Order of Calatrava. You can stop on your way to the nearby railway station in Samper de Calanda and see the Calvary and the shrine dedicated to Santa Quiteria, containing an exhibition on Easter Week. Urrea de Gaén is the home of the Roman villa known as La Loma del Regadío, containing some spectacular mosaics. Indeed, you can see the heritage of the Muslim culture in the labyrinthine layout of its streets and in its network of irrigation channels. Alcorisa stands on the Route of the Iberians in Aragon, and is home to the Cabezo de la Guardia archaeological site and a visitor centre. Finally, on your visit to Albalate del Arzobispo, it is well worth seeing the castle-palace, the shrine of Nuestra Señora de Arcos and the nearby Abrigo de Los Chaparros shelter containing cave art.
Route of the Prisons
Are you interested in visiting a series of places that have been used as prisons since the 15th century? You'll find many of them in an excellent state of conservation in various towns and villages throughout the area of Teruel known as Mezquín-Matarraña. All these spaces are different (many of them are inside town halls or in their basements), and have distinctive features such as bars, leg irons, trap doors, stone walls… You'll be able to visit everything from sinister prisons in the form of pits in places like Ráfales and La Fresneda, through to others where you can still see the rooms occupied by the gaoler, as in Torre del Compte and Monrroyo.
Route of the ice houses and cold vaults
In this third option the idea is to visit the 16th- and 17th-century constructions designed to store snow and to transform it later into ice, a highly-prized commodity at that time. And where can you find them? In the villages of Alcañiz, Belmonte de San José, Calanda, Cañada de Verich, Ginebrosa, La Mata de los Olmos and Valdealgorfa. Through narrations, multimedia videos, panels and reproductions of tools, you'll find out all about the techniques used to obtain ice, the different uses it served, and much more…
You can arrange your visit to all these places according to your interests and the time you have available, as there are no specific itineraries established for these routes. Be adventurous and enjoy a different kind of tourist experience, and the chance to take part in the traditions and history of Teruel.
You'll find more information on the official website of the
Teruel tourist board
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