The lovers of Teruel

Diego Marcilla and Isabella de Segura loved each other since childhood despite the social difference of the two families. They are called the lovers of Teruel. When Diego asked for Isabella's hand it was, of course, refused, but the girl's father granted him a period of five years so that he could come back rich and worthy to marry his Love.

the lovers of Teruel

The lovers of Teruel

Diego then joined the Christian troops of Pedro II of Aragon, fighting against the Muslims who occupied Spain.
In 1217, when the five years expired, Diego not having returned, Isabella's father forced her to marry Pedro de Azagra, son of the Lord of Albarracin. But, when Diego returned the day after the wedding, rich and victorious, learning that Isabella had just married, he entered the house of the spouses, just asking his lost love for a kiss. But Isabella, being now married, refused him and Diego died of grief.

The next day, Isabella returned to the San Pedro church where Diego's funeral was taking place, and lying on his body gave him the kiss she had refused him when he was alive. When someone in the audience wanted to pick her up, she could only see that she too had died of grief.

Collapsed, the two families then decided to bury them side by side in one of the chapels of the San Pedro church.

This is how the Legend of the Lovers of Teruel.

In 1555, during work carried out in the church, the mummified bodies of a young man and a young girl were found, which popular rumor immediately attributed to those of Diego and Isabella.

In 1578 the bodies were transferred to the chapel of Saints Cosmas and Damian where, during the 17th and 18th centuries, many visitors came to see them. The two very damaged mummies were then sheltered in a chest, then transferred to an annex of the San Pedro church. During the civil war the two bodies were sheltered in a nearby convent. In 1955, to celebrate the fourth centenary of the discovery of the two bodies, the sculptor Juan de Avalos offered to create a mausoleum worthy of this sad but beautiful story.

This story has been repeated several times:

As early as 1619, the notary Yagüe de Salas published a document entitled “History of the Lovers of Teruel”.

In 1635, the playwright Tisso de Molina made a play of it which was revived in 1837 by Juan Hartzenbuch in the romantic style of his time.

The work

The statues of the two lovers, in alabaster, are placed under a vault painted with golden and white foliage on a black background, with a trompe-l'oeil lantern.

They hold out their hands to each other, barely touching, their faces turned slightly so that at Judgment Day they will see each other first.

The two mummies rest in openwork marble plinths, supported by a bronze angel for Isabella and a lion for Diego.

Thousands of visitors come every year to see this mausoleum, which however seems cold and emotionless.

Learn more about the artist

Juan Avalos Garcia Taboado was born in Mérida in 1911. He trained in Madrid at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts and specialized in the restoration of antique works. He then taught at the School of Fine Arts in Mérida while participating in numerous exhibitions where his works were highly appreciated. After the civil war, anxious to devote himself only to his art, he settled in Portugal before returning in 1950 to Spain to participate in the statuary of the Valley of Los Caidos.

 He receives numerous national and international orders because his academic style was in the taste of the time. In 1974 he was elected to the San Fernando Academy. He died in Madrid in 2006.