RUTES AND ACTIVITIES

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The ideal place for lovers of...

...Pre-history

Here, lovers of prehistory will find megalithic monuments and enormous dinosaur fossils (Inhospitak, Peñarroya de Tastavins. 8.7 kms. www.dinopolis.com). However, our top recommendation is to visit the stylised Levantine cave paintings that can be seen without any barriers other than those evoked by the emotion they awaken.

Top Tip: The La Fenellosa collection. (Beceite). Approximately 30 kms. (on the El Parrissal trail).

 

…Medieval history

Fans of medieval times will be able to delight in the enthralling history of the Templars who lived in the area, such as the Order of Calatrava.

Top tip: the coffered church sanctuary ceiling of “la Virgen de la Fuente” (Peñarroya de Tastavins). Approximately 9.5 kms.

 

…The Camino of Santiago

Those who have always wanted to do the pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (The Way of Saint James) will see on the façade of “CONSOLACIÓN” a shell that points the way towards Santiago. It is here that the “Jacobeo del Ebro” route passed on the pilgrimage from Tortosa to Zaragoza and, going up upriver along the Ebro, joined the traditional “Camino Francés” route.

 

…Art

All of the towns and villages in the area are full of interesting constructions, buildings, images and paintings of different eras; from the archaeological site of San Cristóbal in Mazaleón, to the contemporary painting of Gema Noguera in her studio in Beceite. That said, the gothic Levantine buildings and the Renaissance art are our main recommendations.

Top Tip: The town hall of Monroyo. Approximately 2 kms. The church of Santa María la Mayor, Valderrobles. Approximately 25 kms.

 

…Villages with history and tales to tell

The region of Matarraña is made up of 18 municipalities, all of which are of great interest. The smallest is Torre De Arcas, with only 100 inhabitants and the largest is Valderrobres with a population of 2025.
The 18 municipalities are: Arenys de Lledó, Beceite, Calaceite, Cretas, Fórnoles, La Fresneda, Fuentespalda, LLedó, Mazaleón, Monroyo, Peñarroya de Tastavins, La Portellada, Ráfales, Torre de Arcas, Torre del Compte, Valdeltormo, Valderrobre and Valjunquera.

To start with, 3 highlights are:

Mont-Roig de Tastavins
Monroyo is the highest municipality in the region, measuring 857 metres above sea level. Losing yourself in the streets of Monroyo can be an enriching experience taking you back in time. A must see is the town hall building. We also recommend the street “Empedrada”, the gate of Santo Domingo and the parochial church dedicated to Our Lady of Asunción. With a little luck you will hear the XIX century church organ, which was restored only a few years ago.


La Fresneda
We are especially fond of La Fresneda, land of ash trees, which were the favourite trees of the Templars. Besides the Knights Templar, here you will be able find remains of another military order that ruled in the region: the Calatrava. You will also encounter vestiges of the coexistence of Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Highlights are: the “Sanctus” square, the baroque church of Pilar, the palace of Encomienda, the main street “calle Mayor”, the new square “Plaza Nueva”. The XVI town hall in La Fresneda is really remarkable, and although it seems to slant, don’t worry, that’s part of its charm.


Valderrobres
When one crosses the medieval bridge over the river Matarraña and through the gate of “San Roque”, one immediately feels transported to moments of grandeur. From the main square, with its renaissance town hall, the guildhall and the law court, one ascends towards the castle dated from the XIII century, passing the stunning church of “Santa María la Mayor.” While you are winding your way down again, we recommend visiting the “Bergós” gate and discovering the old Jewish quarter of Valderrobres.

 

…Street parties and traditional celebrations

One traditional celebration we strongly urge you to see is the annual Easter Monday procession. All the residents of Monroyo participate in this celebration which takes place at the chapel of “Consolación.” It is on this day that our guests can experience the intense religious devotion. This is combined with a group lunch, which for centuries has acted as a reminder that the sombre period of Lent has drawn to an end.

Other parties and celebrations (we list here one a month, although there are many more throughout the year):
17 of January: San Antón. In nearly every village of the region.
A celebration with pagan origins in which “demonis” or demons, take the centre stage.
5th of February:Santa Águeda. In nearly every village of the region.
In this celebration women have the leading roles. Of especial interest is the celebration held in Mazaleón, with “las Panbenditeras”.
Carnival in Morella
March / April Easter: The whole of the region fills with spirituality from Thursday to Sunday, in order to re-experience joy on Easter Monday. All of the processions are magnificent, in particular the incredible silent procession in Valderrobres the night of Maundy Thursday.
The third weekend in April:Festival of “Aceite Calaceite.”
The first Saturday in May: Procession to the chapel of Sant Pol in Arens de Lledó.
21st of June: Celebration of the summer solstice. Early morning climb to the chapel of Santa Barbara to await the sunrise. La Fresneda.
10th July: Saint Cristobal.
14th to 18th of August: The town party of Monroyo in homage to “Asunción” (Our Lady) and San Roque (Saint Roch). During the entire month there are street parties in all of the regions’ towns and villages.
7th to 8th of September: Birth of the Virgin in Fórnoles with traditional folk songs in front of the church.
October: Variable weekend in October. Mushroom Day. Beceite.
November. First weekend in the month. Handicrafts fair and artisan food products from Maestrazgo.
The honour of celebrating this annual festival in the villa of Monroyo was granted by Jaume I in 1257.
13th of December: Festival of Santa Lucía. Calaceite

 

…Romantic heroes…

Nearly all of Matarraña y Maestrazgo are full of nooks and crannies that recall the steps of General Cabrera, known as “the tiger of Maestrazgo”.

This general was the most important soldier in a series of Spanish wars one hundred years before the Civil War in 1936 (called Carlist wars) in which the supporters of two different kings with opposing ideologies, fought to occupy the Spanish throne. General Cabrera defended his ideals with determination, even after his mother had been murdered by the other side following years of being kidnapped. Finally, after exile in France and England, and disappointed by the course that events were taking, he settled in Wentworth, near London. It is here that he married Marianne Catherine Richards, heiress of a celebrated English family of traders and lawyers. He also died there after recognising the new king Alfonso XII in 1875, by whom he was personally visited in England and who bestowed upon him his rank and noble title.

 

 

...And for those who love...

Wine/ Enology

In CONSOLACIÓN we organise wine tasting sessions, in which we compare the wines from Matarraña with those from the neighbouring areas such as Terra Alta, Priorat and Montsant.
You can also visit the winery Venta D’Aubert (approximately 25 kms), the most prestigious in the area with unusual varieties like viognier or syrah, as well as some from the Terra Alta region like Barbará Forés en Gandesa (approximately 60 kms) or in the Priorato region like Clos de l’Obac (approximately 100 kms) with its characteristic terraces. The tasting sessions and visits must be arranged in advance.

Gastronomy/ Cookery courses
Eating in Consolación is a extraordinary experience. Not only because of the skill of our chef, but due to the wide range of products available in the area. Out of all these, we recommend six products that are truly unique. Furthermore, we offer cookery courses upon request using only products from the area.

Our favourite products:

Olive oil. The olive oil from the area, of a variety empeltre olive, is to our taste the best for cooking in the world. Many experts in the area may criticise this recommendation as a cooking oil, but we maintain that it is difficult to find a better virgin olive oil, for its colour, taste and magnificent performance with heat that does not excessively transform the characteristics of the food.
Empeltre olives are very different to the arbequina or those that populate the countryside of Andalusia and Extramadura.

Black truffle. Truly delicious and aromatic truffles can be found in Monroyo, owing to the altitude, the rains, the abundance of kermes oaks and limestone soil. The best time of year to eat them is in winter. As one renowned French gastronome said. “Truffles are really only at their best after Christmas. Leave then to the ignorant, the callow gluttons and the inexperienced palate, the small glory of eating the first”.

Almonds. The almond tree, together with vines and the olive tree, are the most characteristic crops in the area (as in all Mediterranean countries). Here they cultivate varieties of marcona almond, considered to be of the highest quality world-wide, largueta almonds, a Spanish variety that is longer in shape, ferragnés almonds , guara almonds, and ferranduel almonds, which flower later.
The most traditional desserts of the area are prepared using almonds, such as “secalls” and “ametllats”. Furthermore, in our restaurant you can try two desserts, made from a base of almonds, that are truly delicious: “amandine” cake and nougat ice-cream.

Peaches. The peach trees grown in the area are protected by the Guarantee of Origin and Quality “peaches from Calanda”, and belong to the variety “late-ripening yellow” of the species Prunnus persica. Among its many special characteristics is its picking season: between mid-September and the end of October. When the fruit begins to appear between the months of July and August, they bag them individually in paraffin bags that give the fruit a special pest protection. We are talking without doubt about one of the tastiest, softest and fleshiest types of peach that you can eat in the world.

Honey. Upon smelling the aromas given off by rosemary, thyme and lavender in any corner of Matarraña, you will understand how the bees can produce such exquisite nectar.

Adventure

Trekking
The GR 8 route passes CONSOLACIÓN and forms part of the European E 7 path that goes from the Black Sea to Lisbon. The PR-TE 11 (small route of Mezquín) also passes near CONSOLACIÓN. From Monroyo it traverses La Cerollera, Belmonte de San José, La Codoñera, Torrecilla de Alcañiz and Valdealgorfa.

GR-8 353 km. 15 stages
The route skirts the south west of the province of Teruel, passing through a variety of landscapes; steep mountain ranges (Gúdar, Javalambre), verdant pine forests, deep ravines, rocky escarpments, the sources of rivers, undiscovered waterfalls… Pass through diverse regions with placid and picturesque towns and villages such as Beceite, Monroyo, Mirambel, Cantavieja, La Iglesuela del Cid, Mora de Rubielos. Start the GR 8 which links with the Catalan GR 7 in Los Puertos de Beceite, a spectacular scenic point of great beauty. Passing olive trees, this continues through various areas of “Bajo Aragón” (Lower Aragón): Beceite, Fuentespalda, Peñarroya de Tastavíns (with a well-maintained set of villages), Monroyo (which connects up to the network of small routes of Mezquín), Aguaviva, Las Parras de Castellote and Las Planas.
Via the Sierra de la Garrucha you reach Villarluengo and thereafter Pitarque. From here it is possible to take the PR-TE 9, leading to the small village of “Montoro de Mezquita” near the wonderful rock formations of the “Órganos de Montoro” or you can visit the interesting source of the river Pitarque.
On the way to Cañada de Benatanduz you can take the PR-TE 10 which brings you to Aliaga, where the Guadalope has carved walls, made for climbing. From Fortanete, in the heart of Maestrazgo, you can reach Mirambel, Cantavieja and la Iglesuela del Cid, three towns of medieval design, with many interesting listed buildings and monuments protected for their historical or artistic nature.
Once in Sierra de Gúdar, Valdelinares – known for its ski resort – you pass through the highest village in Aragón. Other places of interest are: Alcalá de la Selva, Mora de Rubielos (where the castle is a national monument), Valbona and La Puebla de Valverde. In Mora you can take the route PR-TE 7 which corresponds to the GR 10, bringing us to Arcos de las Salinas.
The GR8 links with the GR 10 in Camarena de la Sierra. This village is situated beneath the “Pico Javalambre” (2020 metres), which is the highest peak in the province. After enjoying the views you reach Riodeva and, further along the road, Villel, where the GR 8 ends and meets the GR 10 again.
From Bordón you start along the GR 8.1, via La Algecira, Ladruñán y Cuevas de Cañart (one of the many joys of the region, still undiscovered by locals and tourists alike), which brings you to the famous grotto, “Grutas de Cristal de Molinos”. These belong to the interesting cultural park of Maestrazgo. From there, head towards Ejulve, renowned for its ham curing, and, once in the vicinity if Villarluengo, you can link up with the GR 8 next to the famous medieval bridge “El Vao”

Source: The Mountaineering Federation of Aragon



Canyoning/Climbing
The most spectacular place along the bank of the river Tastavins is “el Masmut”, a rugged mountain range that at dusk reminds you of the sacred Australian mountain Ayers Rock. Parts of this mountain range are climbable. You will be able to find a host of information about the different routes and advice in general at http://wildmasmut.googlepages.com/.



Kayak
You can go canoeing in the reservoir at Pena. 30 kms.

Cycling

The suggested cycling route: CONSOLACIÓN-AGUAVIVA-LA BALMA DE ZORITA-TORRE DE ARCAS-CONSOLACIÓN takes approximately 4 hours by bike, bringing you back to the starting point. It is a beautiful round trip, skirting Teruel and Castellón. Setting forth from CONSOLACIÓN, you head towards Monroyo, descending to the environs of Aguaviva and onwards from there, following the road that runs parallel to the spectacular river Bergantes to visit “la Virgen de la Balma”. From there on, an uphill forest track brings us to Torre de Arcas and from thence back to CONSOLACIÓN.

FACTUAL INFORMATION
Length: 61.60 kms.
Cyclable tracks: 100%. You only have to dismount (and take off your shoes) in order to cross the river Bergantes (at km 15.21). The river generally has little water in it (ankle deep) and does not present any risk whatsoever. In the case of predicted heavy rains it is inadvisable to cross the river.
Maximum height above sea level: 850 metres. In Monroyo at km 40.10.
Minimum height above sea level: 445 metres at km. 15.21.
Accumulated slope: 1000 metres.
Level of technical difficulty: low. In general the route takes you along forest tracks that are in good condition.
Level of physical difficulty: mid to high.
Time needed: 4 hours of actual cycling (6 in total).
Recommended time of year: Avoid the shortest and coldest days of winter (the area is very cold) as well as days of heavy rain because it is necessary to cross the river Bergantes at km. 15.21. Water: You can stock up on water in CONSOLACIÓN, Monroyo, La Balma (where there is a restaurant at km.30.71) and Torre de Arcas (km. 49).
Cartography: Page 520 of S.G.E (Peñarroya de Tastavins). Scale 1/50000.
Last updated: May 2002.

Source: Alfonso Pitarque, Gabi Molina y María Falgás.

Interesting walks

From CONSOLACIÓN you can go on short jaunts along our paths and terraces, dotted with rosemary and thyme.

And for those wishing to walk a little more...



CONSOLACIÓN- Chapel of Santa Bárbara
In 45 minutes one can visit the chapel of Saint Barbara. The countryside along the way is truly spectacular and upon reaching the chapel of Saint Barbara one feels like an explorer of former times akin to Indiana Jones. The route does not present any great difficulties except a notable rise just before reaching the chapel.



EL PARRISSAL
A straightforward route, good for all ages. It is divided into two parts: the first, a 6 kilometre forest trail of which most is paved and can be done by car; the second part, that goes upriver to the headwaters, must be done on foot.
From CONSOLACIÓN you can reach Beceite (34 kms), from which the way to El Parrissal is signposted. You can take a track of approximately 6 kilometres leading to a picnic area. Here you can leave your car and continue on foot along a path that opens onto the mouth of the river.
The trekking excursion starts at “Pla de la Mina” and follows the course of the river. It takes around one and a half hours to reach the straits. In the most difficult sections, there are wooden footbridges so that it is not necessary to wade through the water. After crossing the first footbridges, you will come across “el Tormo”, blocks of stone over which the river flows, creating waterfalls. There are sections of path that are indicated on one of the river banks, others where you will encounter wooden footbridges and yet others where you will have to cross the river using stepping stones. It is recommended to bring an extra pair of shoes in case of getting wet. The last footbridge that you encounter is in the “Badina Negra”. From here, depending on the time of year, it is possible to see parts of the river that are dry. Continuing on, you will come across water again. Along the way, one can take in “Les Gubies del Parrissal” (gubies=where the river has become narrowed into a strait, between limestone walls that are practically vertical and whose upper part shows a variety of fissures and other geological irregularities – like the serrated edge of a saw or knife). Right at the end of the excursion you encounter “Els Estrets”, two 60 metre vertical walls of stone, measuring 1 metre in width at some points. If the river hasn’t run dry, then you will have to swim across a pool in order to reach “Els Estrets”. Crossing over “Els Estrets” and following the river you arrive at “la Font del Teix”. There is an alternative route to cross “Els Estrets” without having to get wet, which is via “el Pas del Romeret”. This is signposted on the left hand side before reaching the straits. This way is of greater difficulty and experience in climbing is needed.

Source: www.ecoturismoaragon.com/teruel.htm



Sefarad and the imprint of Judaism. The route of the Talmud
Caspe – whose Jewish quarter, according to oral tradition, was rooted in the street of “Barrio Verde” – along with Maella, La Fresneda, Mazaleón, and Castellote belonged to the collective group or fiscal region of Alcañiz, totalling 250 people at the end of the XIV century.

The community of Alcañiz, born in 1304 thanks to a favour bestowed upon the Military Order of Calatrava by Jaime II – was presided over by two “berorim” and aided in the administration by the “gabbaym”. Alcañiz was an important focal point for rabbinical studies, revolving around the guild of Talmud-Torah in the Santiago quarter. It is here that numerous Rabbis and Talmudists of such importance as Yeoshua' ha-Lurquí, don Josef Benardut and Astruch ha-Leví studied.

Our top recommendation is to go to Híjar (70 km) where the main synagogue has remained almost intact-with a gallery for women- since the refurbishments that were carried out in the year 1410 and is considered one of the five best in Seferad. This Jewish quarter is also famous for its residents: Eliezer ben Alantansi, who, under the protection of the Duke of Híjar, printed the Pentateuch in Hebrew between 1487 and 1488, as well as printing Tur Yoré De'á by Jacob ben Aser amongst other books. This was one of the pioneering printing presses on the peninsula.

 

 

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(+34) 978.85.67.87
info@consolacion.com.es

Monroyo / Mont-roig.
Matarraña, Teruel. Spain.

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