Updated: Jul 8, 2020
A couple of days ago I had the chance to visit a small, lovely village in Castilla-La Mancha region, province of Albacete, of only 950 inhabitants. I present you Letur, the pearl of Sierra del Segura.
Besides the charm of a mountainous settlement, the history of this place traces back in time more than you could imagine. It has the best preserved medieval layout of Arab origins in the province of Albacete but you can easily find traces from the Roman Empire. It all started perhaps in the Palaeolithic but let’s not get that far. Roman, Arabs and Christians have left very visible traces. The Arab layout it’s reflected in its whitewashed houses and patios, as well as the sewerage and the irrigation system.
Once the Christians, namely the Spanish let by Alfonso X Sabio, re-conquer the settlement, both cultures coexist. From the 16th Century though, more traces and evidence of religious images appear. Letur still is a Mudejar town (Arabs who lived in Christian territories) and this is visible from the marks and memories in arches, coffered ceilings, sewers, irrigation systems, ponds and other architectural structures.
As you stroll by you can feel the fresh mountain air and everywhere the clear water specific for this place winds around the corners. Narrow, cubic streets with walkways, slopes and portals, stone arched access to the houses, labyrinth-alike alleys, orchards, rocks and fountains, pools and ponds are just some of the beauties of this place.
The houses combine harmonically with the nature as their architectural ensemble is made of rammed earth, water and lime, together with stone, wood and cane, with large white walls of little decoration, swirled around the main square. This is the highest part of the town and of course, here we have the 16th Century church of church Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, the emblem of this settlement, Its Gothic style of that time is visible everywhere in its style, except the entrance, which is from Renaissance, decorated with leaves and fruits.
The main square used to be the yard of weapons of the Letur castle that was constructed during the 12th Century, during the Arab domination. The remaining of the castle was razed in the middle of the past century, despite being under the protection of being a historical patrimony.
Going out the stairs from Arch of Moreras, a natural stoned bridge, we get to another fountain just at the entrance to the puddle Las Canales, a natural caved pool in the centre of the village. During the summer it is the main attraction as the locals use this place as a bathing area. A bit further we have another fountain, tribute to the musicians.
Returning to the main square you get attracted to the narrow streets of the old part. White walls, tiles on the roofs, forged iron at the balconies, arches and passages.
The streets are adorned with a characteristic grid of autochthonous blacksmiths, and peculiar wooden doors, which indicate that there was an important woodwork, identifying today the workshops that gave rise to these beautiful creations, being some of their heirs, followers of tradition.
I have no other things to say but to invite you here. The place is lovely and the nature around you amazing.