Last weekend (17-19 February), Teruel, a small city in Spain, celebrated what has become a tradition: the love story of Isabel de Segura and Diego de Marcilla or how they are commonly known: Los Amantes de Teruel.
Legend says that 800 years ago there lived in Teruel a young couple of lovers. She was Isabel and he was Diego and they were deeply in love. Sadly, she belonged to a higher class than him and Isabel’s father didn’t approve of their affair so, in a desperate move, Diego joined the forces and headed to war to gain some reputation and money so he could marry his love. However, five years passed by and Diego hadn’t come back from war yet. One day, sad news arrived to the city: Diego had died in battle. Isabel fell into depression and his father decided to marry her to a Lord. The wedding was celebrated the very next day although Isabel’s face was lacking of any emotion during the ceremony. A big party was thrown in honour of the newlyweds and the whole city enjoyed the festivals. But, against all odds, Diego wasn’t really dead and he arrived to the city just the day after the wedding. When he discovered that his only love had married someone else, he ran to her house and screamed her name until she appeared on the balcony. The very moment she saw him, Isabel started crying but she couldn’t betray her husband and her family’s honour. Therefore, when Diego asked her for a simple kiss, a kiss that would help him to keep living a life that didn’t fancy anymore, Isabel couldn’t do anything but refuse and asked him to leave and forget about her. But true love is impossible to forget and Diego died just moments after Isabel denied him the kiss.
This story, as all great love stories, had a sad ending with Isabel dying the day of Diego’s funeral, in his arms and after giving him the kiss that she denied him in life. Now, they are both buried in Teruel with their hands almost touching symbolising their heartbreaking story.
In commemoration of this tragedy, Teruel travels back in time to the medieval era during the third weekend of February (using the closest weekend to valentine’s day) and the whole city dresses up as people would have in that time and perform the love story of Isabel and Diego.
More and more every year the city receives visitors from all over Spain (and sometimes even from abroad) as the festival is getting more and more media attention and recognition for its thorough details of the medieval time regarding both the costumes and the different stands, haimas or places to eat as the people of that time did. There is even a special beer made just for that weekend!
Teruel becomes a city full of colours, tastes, people, laughs and the most important thing: love
On the last day, everybody gathers in Plaza Fray Anselmo Polanco and kisses in honour of an impossible love that a young couple once died for. Because love is timeless.
“These violent delights have violent ends and in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consume” Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene VI