Monasterio de Uclés, Province of Cuenca!

In our tours as road warriors in Castilla La Mancha region we stopped at a wonderful in country apart hilly and countryside Monastery of Uclés. This is located in the northeast of the Province of Cuenca on the cutoff almost of the A3 to Madrid.

Founded in pre Roman times, was part of an important Arab/moors enclave with castle ,mosque, and spas. It went several times changing hands between Arabs/Moors and Christians until 1057AD; and finally in 1174 under King Alfonso VIII the city is given to the Order of Santiago (as in St James the way a military order to protect Christian lands) that made it their principal house.  In 1493 the Catholic Kings (Fernando y Isabel I) asked the Pope to declare them administrator of the Order and which Fernando the Catholic held from 1494 to 1516 at which time king Carlos I unified the military Christian orders as there were no further needs to fight the Arab/Moors afte the conquest of Granada in 1492. In 1528 the works begins on the Monastery and by 1548 the refectory is already built. In 1577 king Felipe II spent Holy Week here as well.

That is a bit of history on the city. Many battles were held the most important and with a nice plaque in the patios of the Monastery today was the one held in January 13 1809 known as the Battle of Uclés between the invading Napoleonic troops and those of the Spaniards in what is know as the war of independence ; the French after winning the battle committed many atrocities to the city and monastery and the homes were sacked and many burned in the Church.

On the site of the Monastery, there was a castle from the 11C of Arab/Moors design. The Monastery is built from 1529 under the reign of king Carlos I and finished in 1735 under the reign of king Felipe V. Due to the long period of construction, the monastery is dotted with three periods of Spanish architecture known as Plateresque, Herrerian, and Churrigueresque; the Church is done in the Herrerian style in 1602 is  similar to that of El Escorial.

During the Spanich Civil War it was used as a Republican hospital and later prison (until 1943)  where recently on a well were found the remains of more than 300 persons. In 1949, the seminary menor of the bishops of Cuenca under the name of  «Santiago Apóstol» was established. The bishopric of Cuenca now uses it for several functions such as encounters, camping, group meetings, educational activities amongst some. It is open to the public alone for 4.50€ adult and also you can do guided visits.

More info in official page in  Spanish here: https://www.monasterioucles.com/visita

and more in Spanish from the region’s Tourist office here: http://www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/monasterio-de-ucles-28064/

There are rooms dedicated to the local founding on Roman and pre Romans artifacts and remains of the old Arabic castle as well as the history of the Order of Santiago.

We did the trip by car and did it across sunflower fields of dirt/stone terrain to reach it by the south side where it can be seen in all it’s splendor. You can do so easier by the road from the A40 taking exit or salida 254 “Carrascosa del Campo (oeste)”. Follow the first two traffic circles direction Carrascosa del Campo. On the third traffic circle take the first exit towards Uclés, continue for about 12 km, crossing the town of Rozalén del Monte. Once you reach Uclés, take a right road bordering the town until you see the access road to the monastery.

It is a wonderful side in country Manchego of Castilla La Mancha and a historical place. There are findings of pre historic excavations here too and many Roman artifacts found. In all it is fun for a day of sightseeing and driving on country road, the real travel ::) life is beautiful or as we said in Spain La Vida es chula ::)

Enjoy the photos, and have a great weekend. Cheers !

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