Kingdom of Spain 2014
|12 April, Teruel||21 April, Sevilla|
|13 April, Teruel||22 April, Sevilla|
|14 April, Albarracín, Valencia||23 April, Sevilla, Baeza|
|15 April, Valencia||24 April, Baeza, Úbeda|
|16 April, Valencia, Elche||25 April, Baeza, Toledo|
|17 April, Murcia||26 April, Toledo|
|18 April, Cabo de Gata||27 April, Toledo|
|19 April, Cabo de Gata, Níjar||Economic data of the trip|
|20 April, Sevilla|
12 April, saturday
It is really hard to park in the old town of Teruel hence the owner of the Mudayyan hotel recommends us to leave the car
in the parking lot of the train station, where seven hundred cars fit —a little exaggerated, doesn't it?— and it is free!.
As we walk to El Torico square the white balcony of the Ferrán house draws our attention. Still more bizarre is El Torico house in the square itself. Both are modernist buildings that the catalonian Pablo Monguió, disciple of Gaudi, built between 1910 and 1912 for the vigorous bourgeoisie of the time.
In the Torico square plenty of people are already waiting for the parade of the bands that often accompany the Confraternities and Brotherhoods in the processions of Holy Week. I have only seen one procession in my life, in my hometown Portugalete, I was maybe five or six years old; I remember the Nazarenes parading barefoot on the wet ground with torches and faces hidden behind a ghostly capirote as they descended la Cuesta de las Maderas street. The beating of the drums is still ringing in my ears. And the bearded dummy with a crown of thorns on his bloodied head, carrying the cross. So solemn everything, so terrifying. And to top it all, by night. How scary it was! Never again. The last procession took place in 1967. I do not know the reasons for the disappearance of this tradition in most of the municipalities of the Basque Country; I do not think it was for lack of interest of citizens, it was a well-attended event.
In Teruel however the tradition keeps alive: from tomorrow Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, Teruel will count with fifteen processions, two retreats and a devotional Way of the Cross. Right now, as an appetiser, it is scheduled an "Exaltation of Holy Week instruments" by bands of bugles and drums from fraternities and brotherhoods of Teruel.
And what is the difference between fraternities and a brotherhoods? In olden days, fraternities gathered people with similar interests, for example: the brotherhood of the railwaymen, fishermen, students, etc. On the contrary, brotherhoods fitted all kinds of people. Nowadays there is no longer any social or legal difference between fraternity and brotherhood, everyone is welcome.
The origin of processions is previous to Christianity, although the specific processions of Holy Week emerged at the end of the thirteenth century and are linked to the Mendicant orders of Dominicans and Franciscans. At first processions were composed only of penitents who self-flagellated until bleeding, as the "picaos" (pitted) of San Vicente de la Sonsierra in La Rioja still do. The adoption of religious imagery, as it is conceived now, did not arrive until the XVII century and it had a didactic purpose since the people was largely illiterate. The musical accompaniment also arrived at that time: it is said that on Good Friday of 1678 a priest of Alcañiz had the occurrence of accompanying the procession with drums probably to give more solemnity to the parade as it was done with the prisoners condemned to the scaffold. This novelty settled down and spread throughout the country.
Brotherhood "The Prayer of Jesus in the Garden" marching through the Torico square.
We gather a bunch of tourists, all Spaniards. Watch what the guide says: "The church of San Pedro is the most complete ensemble of Mudejar architecture in the city. The works of the church began in 1196 but what you see today is mostly from the fourteenth and fifteenth century, nothing more remains of the old temple. Mudejar elements are revealed primarily on the façade, the bricks, the green and white ceramics of the apse and, above all, the tower. There are also many gothic elements because it was the fashionable style when the church was built. The main altarpiece was not painted for economical reasons; they were in crisis, as now. In spite of this, look at the concave and convex surfaces of the folds of the robes, they give a sense of movement and dynamism. However, the altarpiece of the medical saints Cosme and Damián dates from the same period as the main altarpiece and is painted, unusual in a work by Gabriel Yoly. In 1876 a lightning struck the tower and there were many damages. It started with a small repair and ended up redecorating most of it; in fact, most of the inside dates back to the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The decoration looks very oriental, don't you think? What material do you think is the bottom of the walls made from? It looks like marble, right? Well, not really, it's concrete mixed with paint. It seems real, doesn't it? Notice also the wrought iron gate of the choir, truly a masterpiece. The wrought irons are very representative of Teruel, you will see them all over the city, mainly in the balconies of the modernist buildings like the Bayo house, the Escalinata and the cathedral. Many of these jobs were made in the workshop of Matías Abad Civera; he received many commissions, not only from Teruel but throughout Spain".
We dinner at Yain, a flashy restaurant on the Jewish Quarter square. As starters: Cabrales cheese croquettes, scallops with bacon and bread with Iberian ham. A codfish to the two sauces as main course and cheesecake as dessert and we end up with a small glass of Pedro Ximénez for free. Too many calories. How difficult is to maintain a balanced diet away from home! So many temptations on the way!
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