Huete, a little corner of Castilla La Mancha

Again on my off the beaten path trips , the lone road warrior in my beloved Spain. I was recently asked if have a favorite region, well all of Spain is wonderful, or as they said in the 80’s tourist slogans; Spain is everything under the sun. However, if hard press, the lonely souls of Quijote will make me choose Castilla La Mancha.

And off we go again in this land of minds and souls going to a little town less than 2K folks ,where my family enjoyed several trips and joy, this is Huete.

My previous blog posts here : https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/13697

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/18918

Huete is in the province of Cuenca, Castilla La Mancha region. It is in the northwest corner of the province at  54 km from Cuenca and 120 km from Madrid. It has a train station on the line Madrid-Cuenca-Valencia. However, the car is king on the A3 Madrid -Valencia corridor and up to Huete on the CM 310 road.

A bit of history I like

In the 6C there were signs of a town here on the plains of Álvar Fáñez, later it was taken to mines on chalk that still abound in the region even empty.  It was later known as Wabda forming part of the corus of Santabariyya or Shant Bariya on the plains of a castle with much of it walled. In the 9C and 10C was a very important center of the tribes of Hawwara and Madyuna under the family of Banu Di-L-Nun that later took control of the area in the taifa of Toledo (1031-1085).  It was here at Huete that  al-Qádir, the last king of Toledo left the territory after giving in to the forces of king Alfonso VI even before becoming king at Valencia.  It is the legend that under the patronage of the Saints Justa and Rufina on the encirclement of the Almohades Arabs and after failing on the last offensive there was a huge storm that filled the moats of the castle with water so avoiding a collapse and giving them time for the forces of king Alfonso VI to arrived to finally defeat them.

In 1164 took place here the Battle of Huete where the troops of the House of Castro under Fernando Rodríguez de Castro “the Castilian”, defeated the troops of the House of Lara ordered by the Count Manrique Pérez de Lara, that died in combat as well as his brothers  Álvaro and Nuño. The battle was a result of the turbulent minority age of Alfonso VIII of Castilla, winner of the battle of  Navas de Tolosa, that needed to fight amongst others his uncle king Fernando II of León, that had taken the city of Toledo in 1162.

During the period of the Trastámara (house of  Segovia and Isabel I the Catholic) in 1388, king Juan I gave Huete to dame or  Doña Constanza, oldest daughter of  Pedro I and Duchesse of Lancaster, in order to solved the dynastic problem at the moment to reach the Castilian throne.  In the Peace of Troncoso and treaty of  Bayonne it was agreed that together with Guadalajara, Olmedo ,and Medina del Campo, Huete, and all its lands and rights were given to  Doña Constanza,and that her  daughter, Catalina, was to married the infante Enrique, adopting both as Princes the heir to the throne of Castile and for the first time the title of Prince of Asturias (title to the heir to the throne of Spain even today). By the 15C Juan II gave the title of city and the Catholic kings in 1477 gave the city the title of Noble and Loyal city that has it since then. As an anecdote in the 19C king Fernando VII spent the summer for a few days here in 1816.

Things to see in Huete

Urban wall ramparts of Huete. Andalucian origins with several reforms and on the transfer to the kingdom of Castille in the 12C .Done with several different techniques and materials such as cemente, stones, and ceramics. You have the moon castle or Castillo de Luna  the fortress of  Wabda,  also of Andalucian origins done on top of a Roman that still can be seen on the walls.

Huete

Palacio Episcopal de Huete, or episcopal palace built in thrre phases, on which you see from the first one the shield of the bishop Solano end of the 18C ; second done by bishop Palafox early 19C with the central part unfinished.  In 1570 the first jesuist arrived to found the college and later the college of letters and grammar; they were sent off in 1767, and the building was inactive just with clerical function. The building goes thru many changes such as second half of the 16C you see it on the facade on the left of the main gate . In the first third of the 17C the  convent house with a patio and nice quarters were done.  The Church started building it in 1700 and you can see the nice entrance gate where the Royal arms and the inscription by king Carlos III that ordered in 1770 the transfer of the parish of San Nicolás de Medina,known then as San Nicolás el Real. The place now a parish Church the brotherhood of the Virgen de Guadalupe ordered built the Chapel in roccoco style.  In 1795,the brotherhood of Saint John the Evangelist coming from the parish of Santa María de Atienza, built the Chapel for them here. Today, the Church is manage by the brotherhoods of  San Antonio Abad, Our Lady of  Loreto, and St John the Evangelist that does a very important festival in the second weekend of May.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Atienza or Our Lady of Atienza Church. This is one of the 10 parishes that during the middle ages and even modern times had Huete and this was the oldest; probably on top of an old mosque. The style is artistic with a gothic ,a rare example in the Province of Cuenca. In 1790 , the Church falls off leaving only the absinthe that is kept as a hermitage. Iglesia de Santo Domingo or the Saint Domingo Church was built in the 14C with sisters coming from the area of Amasatrigo thanks to donations by Catalina de Lancáster, Queen of Castille and Lady of Huete.  The current Church is from 1620 .There were renovations from 1621 to 1642. One of its members was the bishop of Astorga ,don Diego de Veancos y Salcedo, buried in one of the Chapels decorated with his bishop’s arms.  The convent was clear of its duties in 1835, and sold losing even the cloister done in the last third of the 16C.

Huete

Torre del Reloj  or Clock tower; from the very early times the tower was still at its current location even if the designs were done in 1795,  after many stop for lack of funds, were finally finished in  1805 . The La puerta de Almazán gate call like this because it connects with the parish Church of  San Nicolás de Almazán, was the most important of the walled ramparts.

Huete

Convento de Jesús y María. or Jesus and Mary convent. It is built on an elevation where the hermitage of Santa Lucía,from which the Bells were used to put in the convent bell tower. Worked began in 1554 ,and finished in 1576 when Sisters of the order of San Lorenzo Justiniano coming from  Cuenca to house here.  This is one of the best examples of the Cuenca architecture of the 16C, a rectangular level around a cloister with arcs of half point on square and boxed pillars, a very innovative construction at the time.

Huete

Iglesia de San Pedro or St Peter’s Church in ruins of a Church from the 17C with a nice Chapel with gothic designs of the 16C.  Ermita de San Sebastián  or hermitage.  In this spot it was known as the quarry of Chopos , where a vegetable garden was done dating from 1689,and renovated in 1737.

Monasterio de la Merced , or Mercy monastery is a Church from 1670 and a cloister from 1645-1647. Here is preserved the image of the Virgin or Virgen de la Merced of which festival is done in the month of September also known as the festival of Huete or of Merced that was before an important cattle fair. Founded by the end of the 13C,and currently the oldest part kept are the the central facade from 1639. the facade was renovated in the neo classic style in 1867 and the south corner next to the city hall entrance  renovated end of the 19C.  The cloister is one of the best baroque patios in the province of Cuenca done as said between  1645 and 1647, done with different materials. The Church was done in 1670 and in 1754 the sacristy was built that currently has a retable altar coming from the abbey of Caracena del Valle done in the second half of the 16C. In the last part of the 18C the Monastery was enlarged. Today, there are inside the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Florencio de la Fuente ( a contemporary arts museum). Also, the city hall, and several administrative services such as the Tourist office, library, the parish of San Esteban ,and three museums.

Huete Huete Huete

Some nice museums indeed that have not seen all are:

Museo Florencio de la Fuente , in the monastery of Mercy above and very nice indeed with a collection of international contemporary arts by such as Villatoro, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Bores, Camille Corot, Pedro de Matheu, Vicet Ochoa, José Bautista etc, under donations by others such as the museum founder to the city of  Huete.

Museo de Arte Sacro or museum of sacre art; you have here an excellent collection of religious art such as the Cross of San Nicolás de Almazán, Cross of Santa María de Atienza, done in 1618 in silver, told one of the best Castilian crosses of the 17C that is shown in processions during the festival of St John the Evangelist around May 6 each year.  You will see a wonderful ivory Christ from the 17C and a collection of ornaments and dresses such as the cape of the Captives or manto de los Cautivos, knitted in the  Philippine style of the 18C for the Virgen de las Mercedes.

Museo Etnográfico , bringing the collection of tools used for the trades in the area such as a collection of tools for use in agriculture and cattle ranching. Museo de la Fragua or wrough iron museum with a collection of tools for this kind of work.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

City of Huete in Spanish with on left column info on Arte y Patrimonio ( arts and heritage) and Museos (museums). http://huete.org/wp/

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Huete in English: Tourism Castilla La Mancha on Huete

And again, hope you enjoy this natural trip to natural and soul searching of my beloved Spain. WE really had enjoyed this trips even my dear late wife Martine.

Remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

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4 Comments to “Huete, a little corner of Castilla La Mancha”

  1. A place I haven’t visited. I like the look of it!


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    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am afraid I don’t know La Mancha at all, but I hope we will visit one day, if only to see those beautiful Molinos immortalised by Don Quijote.

    Liked by 1 person

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