A Picturesque Town


   The astonishment grows and climbs on the cliffs thirty eight kilometers from the city of Teruel. From Zaragoza one must take the deviation to the right a little bit before arriving to the Teruelese capital.

    The fertile valley of Guadalaviar has various pleasant sceneries: there is always a new landscape behind each curve, where the green tries to rise and compete with the hills. After there is the little town of Albarracin, reaching heights that seem unreachable.

    The picturesque view is shrunk by the picturesque interior, that of the streets and squares, the arches and arcades. Railings and balconies commemorate the mysterious legends of yesterday.

    The town of Albarracin always called attention due to how much it is cared for. It is a perfect historical and artistic complex, where details are pampered, whether relating to the electric lighting or the cobbled streets in line with the buildings. And, after all, is something alive, latent, far from being considered a museum village or a pantheon. In Albarracin everything talks and becomes full of suggestions. In any case, we must admit it is a living museum.

    The narrow and peaceful streets preach out their strong Arab descent. There are green plants and pots filled with flowers in every corner ready for the Spring.

    People wait in silence until April fades away. And the Gate of the Maya is full of entwined branches of flowers, and the flowers also look out the window or balcony of the beloved, and the Mays fill the night with the rhythm of previous centuries:

    We are at the thirty
    Of the accomplished April:
    Be happy ladies
    That May has arrived.    

The party begins with the first dawn of the month of May, when the last twelve bells of April are left behind:

   The night has arrived:
    We congratulate
    Singing to May
    With a gifted pledge.    

The music and lyrics carry the popular spirit and the tenderness of love songs, when the night is full of flirtatious compliments. The mountains are flooded with resonance and hearts fill up with light. Every beauty has her May, and the lyrics of the song, sweet and naive, is poetry at every moment, even when it is time to goodbye:

    With this one and no more
    We leave your gate;
    Stay in bed
    Covered in flowers.    

They say the tradition is ancient.    

The Mays – people tell me – are sung since the most ancient times.    

There are even those who seek its origin in the Mayumea Greek party. Who knows. Anyways, Albarracin receives the month of May covered in flowers, songs on lips and lots of emotion in hearts.

    The town fills up with visitors who flock to hear the Mays sing. However, the Mays should not be listened to as if they were a tourist attraction, but as a natural popular expression that has developed freely and spontaneously.

    Tradition and customs endure as something authentic of living history. Saint Mary of the East looks towards Aragon and Castilla. From the gate of Molina, it opens its watchman eyes looking towards the Castilian lands. It is possible that their traditions and customs have similarities from both regions.

    Alfonso Zapater.  Esta tierra nuestra I, Adaptation, Adaptación

Instructions: select one of the buttons with the letters a, b and c. The correct answer will turn red.



1) Albarracin is located in:

a) The valley of Alfambra

b) The valley of Jiloca

c) The valley of Guadalaviar

2) This town is attractive because of:

a) How much care is given to it.

b) Its great extension.

c) Its modernity.


3) Albarracin can be considered as:

a) A museum town.

b) A living museum.

c) An antique museum.


4) Albarracin has ascendency from:

a) The Visigoths.

b) The Romans.

c) The Arabs.


5) The Mays decorate with flowers and plants:

a) The Gate of the Maya.

b) The principal Gate.

c) The corner of the Albarracin.


6) The party of the Mays begins:

a) On the 2nd of May.

b) At the night of April 30th.

c) Half way through May.


7) The Mays sing since:

a) Ancient times.

b) Ten centuries ago.

c) Fifteen centuries ago.


8) Some believe that this tradition has its origins from:

a) Arabic celebrations.

b) Roman parties.

c) The Mayumea Greek party.


9) Which virgin looks towards Castilla and Aragon?

a) Saint Mary of the West.

b) Saint Mary of the East.

c) The Virgin of Pillar.


10) Which gate opens towards the Castilian lands?

a) The Gate of Molina.

b) The Gate of Bronchales.

c) The Gate of Alcolea.



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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL