Villanueva de la Jara, Province of Cuenca, Castilla La Mancha!

This was a long road warrior day thru the province of Cuenca in the region of Castilla de la Mancha. We went south of Cuenca on national and local regional roads into the vast lands of Don Quijote, searching his dreams! We stop at Villanueva de la Jara.

This is a historical town, going back to prehistoric times. However, it is call Villanueva or new town because in 1476 sided with the Queen Isabel I of Castille (The Catholic Queen) in her fight in the war of Succession to the throne she contested with Juana la Beltraneja. She ,Isabel I won, and for allegiance gave the title of City, and built a college of latin ,the first one in the province of Cuenca.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), it was a Republican base and many notables came here such as George Orwell, Willy Brandt ,and Josip Broz Tito who fought in the international Brigades, the Comitern, and the Lincoln Brigade.

We came here down on our ways in the N320 direct to town and easy parking by the main Church. Some of the things to see here are the Plaza Mayor , main square. It has a clock tower (Torre del Reloj) and the city hall is renaissance from the 16C.

The Church or Iglesia del Carmen was previously a monks’s convent of the Carmelites that keeps the image of the Virgen de las Nieves (Virgin of the snow) the town patron Saint.

The Church or Iglesia Parroquial de la Asuncion holds the title of Basilica . This Church was built with the stones of the old arab castle in the 15C. The high Altar has a beautiful retable on three bodies of golden wood.  You can tell the fortified nature of it from its walled ramparts of arab origin and rebuilt as a wall in the 16C. You see next to it, three slabs with circular towers all that is left of the castle of Villanueva. It was very nice inside with the best Chapels such as Capilla  la de la Inmaculada Concepción, altar style from the gothic to the renaissance, Capilla de la Virgen del Rosario, nice dome, and the Capilla de la Virgen del Pilar, with a retable of the 16C. Bit more on it here in Spanish: http://www.descubrecuenca.com/es/enclaves-y-poblaciones/la-manchuela/basilica-de-nuestra-senora-de-la-asuncion-villanueva-de-la-jara-52

The Convent of the Carmelites was founded by Santa Teresa de Jesus in 1580. When we got there it was closed; it is walking distance from the Plaza Mayor. It has paintings from the 17C , and the tomb of the Venerable Ana de San Agustín, that took over the convent once Santa Teresa left the town. Villanueva de la Jara is part of the trail of footprints of Santa Teresa, a pilgrimage route that includes 17 cities where the Saint Teresa de Jesus left her presence with founding buildings such as convents or churches etc. See photo of  Santa Teresa de Jesus ,her statue in front of the Church or Iglesia Parroquial de la Asuncion.

You have some info in Spanish in the regional tourist portal here: http://www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/villanueva-de-la-jara-47331/descripcion/

OF course, there is always more; but this gave us a glimpse of the real Castilian life in the Province of Cuenca, region of Castilla La Mancha. Memories that will lingered forever in our minds.  See for example, (photo) the architecture facade of the house villa Enriqueta in the Plaza Mayor. The trip, the people, all wonderful. Hope you enjoy it looking at the pictures as I did taken them and passing by this region. Cheers y’all.

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