A king at Cuenca!

So here is another important figure in the history of my beloved Spain and pave the foundation for its unification and reconquest period. I happened to visit the city of Cuenca several times and always marvel of his equestrian statue there at Travesía Clavel, 6 street. Let me tell you a bit more on king Alfonso VIII, the Noble.

A 17-year-old Alfonso VIII of Castile tried to conquer the city, but after five months of siege, he had to retreat after the arrival of troops sent by the Almohad caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf. Alfonso signed a seven-year truce but when, in 1176 the Cuencans occupied some Christian lands in Huete and Uclés, Alfonso intervened at the head of a coalition including also Ferdinand II of León, Alfonso II of Aragon and the Military Orders of Calatrava, Santiago and Montegaudio, besieging Cuenca for months starting from 1177’s Epiphany. The city’s commander, Abu Bakr, again sought the support of Yaqub Yusuf, but the latter was in Africa and did not send any help. After an unsuccessful Cuenca sortie against the Christian camp on 27 July, the besieged city was conquered by Alfonso’s troops on 21 September 1177, while the Muslim garrison took refuge in the citadel.

The latter fell in October, 1177 putting an end to the Moors domination in Cuenca. King Alfonso VIII granted the city a title, and it was considered to be “Muy noble y muy leal” (Very noble and very loyal). It was given a set of laws, the Fuero, written in Latin, that ruled Cuenca’s citizens, and it was considered one of the most perfectly written at that time. The diocese of Cuenca was established in 1183; its second bishop was St. Julian of Cuenca, who became patron Saint of the city.

King Alfonso VIII  (b.1155 –d.1214), called the Noble or el de las Navas, was the King of Castile from 1158 to his death in 1214 ,and King of Toledo. He is most remembered for his part in the Reconquista and the downfall of the Almohad Caliphate. After having suffered a great defeat with his own army at Alarcos against the Almohads, he led the coalition of Christian princes and foreign crusaders who broke the power of the Almohads in the Battle of the Navas de Tolosa in 1212, an event which marked the arrival of a tide of Christian supremacy on the Iberian peninsula. His reign saw the domination of Castile over León and, by his alliance with Aragon, he drew those two spheres of Christian Iberia into close connection.


In 1202, he claimed the county of Gascogne brought as a dowry by his wife Eleanor of England, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine. His expedition took him to the gates of Bordeaux, which he unsuccessfully besieged in 1205 or 1206.  King Alfonso  VIII was the founder of the first Spanish university: the studium generale de Palencia, which disappeared after his death. He also founded the order of Alcántara.

He was married in 1170 at his majority of age at 15, to Eleanor of England aged 8, daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose possessions made him the largest sovereign of the moment. They have twelve children, including four daughters who become queens. One important one to me aws the Infanta Blanche (1188–1252), married to Louis VIII of France and regent of this kingdom during the minority and the crusades of her son Louis IX (1226 to 1235);later Saint Louis.

You can read a lot more of him here: Roman Catholic Saints on Alfonso VIII

There you go a nice walk up hilly streets but once you past it the views and the statue is nice. Travel and history goes hand in hand for me. Hope you enjoy Cuenca and the statue of king Alfonso VIII  as I do

And remember, happy travel, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!





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2 Comments to “A king at Cuenca!”

  1. I really like your beautiful blog. A pleasure to come stroll on your pages. A great discovery and very interesting blog. I come back to visit you. Do not hesitate to visit my universe. A soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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