TERUEL'S iconic cathedral will be restored this year with a budget of €1.6 million.
The spectacular temple was built in the late 12th century in a Romanesque style with three main naves, but by 1342 it had become a Collegiate instead.
Its tower, or cimborium, was constructed in the mudéjar style – that of the last-remaining impoverished, rural-dwelling Moors whose freedom to practise Islam was diminishing under increasingly-powerful and intolerant Christian rule – a distinct blend of 'poor' materials such as wood, clay, plaster and brick.
The mudéjar artists had few resources and had to eke out what they could find, mostly cheap material, maximising their creativity – and the result was the unique, striking architecture found dotted throughout the eastern half of mainland Spain, but more heavily concentrated in the city of Teruel, southern Aragón.
Long after the last of the Moors had been thrown out of Spain in the late 15th century, the building officially became a cathedral after the diocese of Teruel was created in 1587.
Not only does its architecture make Teruel cathedral the city's main tourist attraction, but the tombs and statues of the legendary 'lovers of Teruel' – Aragón's answer to Romeo and Juliet – attract hundreds of visitors passing through on the way to the ski slopes or the dinosaur theme park, Dinópolis.
But the cathedral has been suffering from leaks and general deterioration in recent years.
In 2015, the leaks were finally repaired and a clean-up operation carried out, and the second phase of the works will involve restoring the roofs and the main outside walls.
The Provincial Heritage Commission hopes to be able to approve the works by the end of January, which will allow the city council to issue planning permission.
Overall, the restoration is expected to be completed by June this year, although the option to renew planning for another six months has been reserved.