Old name: Monte Albano
Name of inhabitants: Montalbino, montalbanense.
Population: 2.020 inhab. in 1900 / 2665 inhab. in 1950 / 1690 inhab. in 1995
Elevation: 841 mts.
Montalbán delimits the Cultural Park of the Martín river to the south and is situated in the central mining field (Cuenca Minera Central). In 1189, it apparently belonged to the Azagra de Albarracín family and later hosted the Encomienda de la Orden de Santiago in the Crown of Aragón. This order, established in the XIII century, received the village from Pedro II in 1210, and had jurisdiction over the neighboring territories of Utrillas, Castel de Cabra, Palomar de Arroyos, Torre de las Arcas and Peñarroyas.
This area is also mentioned in the Cantar de Mio Cid, in the description of his adventures along the Martín river valley " El (Val) del río Martín todo lo metio a Paria. " The hero indicates this village in verse no. 1089 " e dexado a Huesa e tierras de Mont Alvan / Contra la mar salada conpeço de guerrear. " His travel through this area helps us understand the toponymy of a number of places around the Infierno ravine, including the Peña del Cid and Peña del Cid ravine.
Some significant remains of the wall enclosure along the left bank of the Martín river can still be seen, some of them being camouflaged among buildings. Inside the enclosure, two imposing rock escarpments control the access from the valley. These must have played a key role during the Middle Ages, especially considering the ruins in the westernmost part of the escarpments, where the castle was probably located. This " Castillo" was used to control passage through the Martín river valley. Its ashlaring remains are camouflaged among the escarpments, which are now known as "las peñicas" (the little crags). The access through the Rambla ravine - with a beautiful view over the village and its church - was instead provided from another high spot, the Era de la Cruz.
The wall enclosure strategically included both escarpments. To the west is the " portal de Daroca" (Daroca portal), with a portico of good ashlaring. Here an embattled tower stands out, along with another tower whose interior served as a village prison, and named "Torreón de la Cárcel" (prison embattled tower). From here, we can reach the main axis of the village, originally known as Daroca street (calle de Daroca), a straight, narrow urban street featuring nobles' houses . From this street, heading north, two small squares and little passages or covered streets begin, ascending to the Era de la Cruz.
The Daroca street ends at the main square (Plaza Mayor), where we find the town hall. It is in this square that we can admire the most important building of the village. Impressive for its size and majesty, the " Santiago church" is considered one of the most distinguished buildings of the XIII and XIV centuries in Aragon.
To the east, the main street extends from the square through Santa Engracia street (calle de Santa Engracia). A number of little streets originate here on both sides, and we can also see a more traditional neighborhood. To the north, we find the " portal de la Rambla" (Rambla portal) , in what was said to be a Jewish quarter. At the end of the street is the " portal de Santa Engracia" ("Santa Engracia portal") or "arco del Muro," which marked the path towards the hermitage (now in ruins) bearing the same name. The path terminates in the Muela ravine and there joins the local road to Peñarroyas.
Nobles' houses, coats of arms at entrances, small passages, projecting floors, covered streets and lookouts, together with the underground channels once used as drainpipes and now known as " el caño de la villa " ("the village water channel") remind us of the area's rich medieval past, when it played a key role in the region.
The church recently discovered a big artificial cavity, which, after a cleaning process, turned out to be a large medieval wine cellar. It now hosts the Centre of Interpretation of Geology and Spelaeology of the Cultural Park of the Martín river.