The Serranias of my Spain!

So here I am making you read me 360 degrees back to my beloved Spain, the one of dreams and stories, architecture and history, and food and wines! This is another story, the mountains of the Serrania of Cuenca and its smallist towns done several times by yours truly in my road warrior mode!

This is my story on Tragacete, Cañete and Tarancon, follow me if you dare! The towns are so small but quant that will put them in one post ok, enjoy it.

We were driving all over Castilla La Mancha as our road warrior habits are known! And we realized were running short on gas/petrol so we were on the back roads of the Serrania de Cuenca and headed for Tragacete, another small mountain town pop of less than 500 folks but has a Repsol gas station !! yupeee! and the old Church of San Miguel, passing by was nice. This is real countryside and we love it!!!

Tragacete

Tragacete is of course in the Province of Cuenca and the already mentioned region on the high plateau of the mountains or Serrania Alta. It is part of the Natural Park of the Serrania de Cuenca. And we rented a house around here for several years which was memorable, great souvenirs with the family see my posts on Las Majadas especially.

Tragacete

Tragacete is a mountain town hahaha really! that starts at the valley formed by the Jucar riverbed. In its outskirts you will be on hills of considerable height, like Mogorrita with 1,866 meters and San Felipe with 1,840 meters (yes and we rented at 1400 meters). Tragacete’s natural environment is quite diverse, including valleys and canyons. Numerous trails marked as “Pequeño Recorrido” or short trails will let you get to know this gorgeous setting ,especially for the walkers in us. The historic quarter exhibits the main characteristics of the local architecture, namely balconies with grilles and wooden beams. One of the most beautiful examples is the Church of San Miguel Arcángel, built in masonry, with ashlar stones in its corners. Its marble ornamental screen on the wall at the back of the altar built after the Spanish Civil War of 1936.

Tragacete is located in the Serranía Alta or high sierra area, and part of the natural park of the Sierras of Cuenca or Parque Natural Serranía de Cuenca. Here the Júcar river is born in the Cerro de San Felipe  and reach the town on about 12 km from its birth; nearby ,you ,also find the birth of the Cuervo river also at about 12 km and the birth of the Tajo river and a bit further the wonderful Ciudad Encantada (enchanted city natural park), Parque de El Hosquillo (more rock formation park) , and the  Ventano del Diablo (the window of the devil with great views). The town is shaded by the highest peaks in the area all over 1850 meters high.  Going out further at about 2 km,  you have the Molino de la Virgen (windmill of the Virgin), there is a nice cascade down juraisic stones down river; you see the water come and go as it filtered on the calcaric rocks that reach a plain at about 1560 meters high  from where the Jucar river is created  (Cerro de San Felipe plains) at a place call the Ojos de Valdeminguete (the eyes of Valdeminguete).

Here is born one of the Royal trails of the animal and men crossing in Spain, that are regulated by a Royal decree signed by king Alfonso X the Sabio in 1273. The one here is known as the  Cañada Real Conquense o de los Chorros . It goes thru the provinces of Cuenca, Ciudad Real, and part of the province of Jaén in Andalucia.

Tragacete

City hall of Tragacete on its history in Spanish here : City Hall of Tragacete

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Tragacete: Tourist office Castilla La Mancha on Tragacete

Cañete  is another small mountain town in the same area province of Cuenca in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha, located about 70 km east of Cuenca, the provincial capital. We went to visit it a really old town on the CM 2106 road with lots of canyon, ramparts and old castle ruins way up town. The best here is the El Postigo canyon with old world laundries by the river , a water fall and escalation to the castle ruins but we did not went all the way, this is for the real outdoorsman aficionado!!! High up!

Cañete

The town was the birthplace of Álvaro de Luna, a Castilian nobleman of the Luna family at the end of the 14C. He was Constable of Castilla, Grand Master of Santiago and worthy servant of King Juan II of Castilla. He is buried in the Santiago chapel, in the ambulatory of the Toledo Cathedral.

During the Spanish Civil War of 1936, the Republican militias who arrived from the Levantine region devastated the parish church, the Chapel of San Julián and the Sanctuary of Our Lady or Nuestra Señora de la Zarza, destroying   the images that the Christian piety   safeguarded and as far as worship existed in its sacred precincts , and which later they dedicated to warehouses or garages ; likewise, in the last moments of the war they destroyed the two beautiful bells of the parish Church.

Cañete

The town of Cañete has areas such as the Hoz del Postigo, recovered as a tourist recreation area, with a picturesque landscape of waterfall, river, view of the hanging houses of the town, hermitage of the Patron Saint Virgen de la Zarza, vestiges of the walled compound, etc. The Cañete castle is accessible on foot and is of Andalusian origin, it had several extensions, especially after the Castilian conquest. The last reforms are from the 19C, from the Carlist Wars. It stands on top of a steep, narrow and long hill, dominating the town, next to the Mayor del Molinillo river. Yes way up long march. There is a nice Puerta de las Eras gate, in a bend, domed, with a horseshoe arch, and of Andalusian origin. Among the temples of Cañete are the Church of Santiago, the Chapel of San Julián and the hermitage of the Virgen de la Zarza.

There is a nice natural setting park at El Chorreadero. The castle you can do on foot as well as the quaint Postigo or Hoz del Postigo that has a pretty cascade fall, river, and hanging houses as well as the Chapel of the patron Saint of  Virgen de la Zarza, parts of the ruins and plenty of fishes , birds etc for the nature lover.

The Chorreadero ,you go out of town by the gate or Puerta de la Virgen and crossing the  Salinillas (sandy area) you can reach the place or continue towards  Cabeza de Don Pedro. The nice ruins castle or  Castillo de Cañete is of  Moors origins with various additions after the Castilian conquest. The last were done in the 19C during the Carlist wars. It is on top of a narrow hilly area where you can look at the town below and the  Mayor del Molinillo river. You can see the Wall ramparts or Muralla de Cañete, the town in parts is surrounded by it with Moorish origins and Christians modifications inside you can see the gate or Puerta de las Eras,with a horseshoe arc and Moorish lettering. You can see the Churches of Santiago, Chapel of San Juliàn, and Chapel of the Virgen de la Zarza. Lots of destruction here during the Spanish Civil War by the Republicans forces.  In addition, in 2015, it was discoverd a mount call locally El Cabezuelo or the big head with three megaliths steps that could be possible pyramids in steps the first in Spain. Even if the majority of experts believe is a Celtic Oppidum from the 3C.

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Cañete

Cañete

The city of Cañete with a map showing its things to see here in pdf file format: city of Canete pdf file on things to see

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Cañete things to see : TOurist office Castilla La Mancha on things to see in Canete

We came down on the N420 to take the A40 expressway to see a far away town of Tarancon on the intersection with the A3 that goes into Madrid. At Tarancon , you see the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion , (12C), but really nice was the Santuario de Riansares. Bombed in the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in the 1950’s ; it had been in the family of the Duque of Riansares as well as built a castle next to it. The Duke and his family are buried inside.

Tarancón is another town from the area but lesser levels and a lot more accessable in the same province of Cuenca, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It is located between La Mancha and La Alcarria moutain areas in a valley. Tarancón is the second most populous town in the province, after Cuenca, so that it borders the provinces of Toledo, Guadalajara and the Community of Madrid, all of which are just a few kilometers from the town. For this reason, Tarancón is equipped with a network of state highways and roads, as well as rail and AVE routes, which connect it to the main cities in Spain. The A-3 or Autovía del Este (yes we know it very well) is one of the six radial highways in Spain and is the natural union between Madrid and the Mediterranean coast of the Valencian Community, more specifically with Valencia. It has three round-trip lanes respectively, on the Tarancón-La Almarcha section.  The A-40 or the Autovia Castilla-La Mancha (yes we do it !!), which starts in Ávila, passes through Toledo, Tarancón, Cuenca and ends in Teruel. The N-400 that connects Tarancón with Ocaña and Toledo. Tarancón has had a train station in its urban core since 1885, where regional trains on the Madrid-Cuenca-Valencia line stop. Tarancón has a bus station, with four docks, night lighting, café / bar, ticket office with ticket sales and information, etc a couple of lines does the run to Madrid but never use it.  Tarancón as Madrid and Cuenca are in the zone E2 of the Madrid regional transport network and you can use the Abono Transporte pass to come here on the bus lines 352 from company Ruiz, S.A. and line 309 from bus company Auto Res, S.A. taking you to Ave Conde de Casal in Madrid or Cuenca bus/train terminals.

In 1537 the town was given the status of villa, although it continued under the jurisdiction of Uclés. In 1591 it was included in the province of Castilla of the Order of Santiago. The town belonged to the province of Toledo until the territorial reform of 1833, by which it was incorporated into that of Cuenca. In 1973 the singer Nino Bravo (sad one of my favorites!) received first aid in Tarancón after suffering the traffic auto accident that took his life.

A bit more story on the above sites:

Sanctuary of the Virgin of Riánsares: located approximately 5 km from Tarancón. It was founded in the 12C. The palace was initially acquired by D. Fernando Muñoz, Duque de Riánsares where he built his pantheon and, next to it, a summer Palace in which to spend summer seasons with his wife, Queen María Cristina de Borbón. Later it was transferred to the Catholic Church and today is the Sanctuary that gives its name to the Patron Saint of Tarancón. More on a special site of the brotherhood of the Virgin of riànsares: Brotherhood of the Virgin of Riansares

Tarancon

Palace of the Dukes of Riánsares. It is the current headquarters of the Tarancón City/Town Hall. Restored building from the 19C, with a rectangular floor plan of two heights and an attic, it has a central courtyard with Tuscan columns, around which the rooms of the building are located. Outside you can see the remains of the original grid. The palace also had some beautiful gardens that in the 20C were transformed into the current Plaza del Mercado or market square. The home of the Dukes of Riánsares was also modified and few original elements have been preserved.

Tarancon

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de la Asunción), from the 16C, with a magnificent Plateresque altarpiece that presides over the main altar.It is located in the neighborhood of El Castillejo, the oldest of the town, prior to its construction, since the 13C, there would be a temple of uncertain location, although probably in the same place where the current church is erected, and it would be in the Romanesque style or neo-gothic. The first church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption must have been built in the 15C. It was a Gothic building with a single nave, with attached side chapels and a ribbed vault, which persisted until the end of the 19C.

Tarancon

Arco de la Malena or arch is the entrance door to what was once a walled enclosure, becoming the most evident proof of this, and as far as its origin is from the 11C. It is currently the arch that gives entrance and precedes the Parroquia de la Asunción or Parish of the Assumption.

Tarancon

Other things to see if time are the convent or Convento de San Francisco, and the palace mansion or Casa Palacio de los Parada, the parish Church of San Victor y Santa Corona, and other chapels such as San Juan, San Isidro Labrador, San Roque ,and Santa Quiteria.  There is a quaint nice old town around the parish Church.  For the art lover or curious there is the painting collection of Emiliano Lozano are in the Casa Palacio de los Paradas. It includes about 300 works bequested to the city of Tarancón, by the family Lozano de la Pola, and it shows small and big portraits in all types of support and all kinds of techniques in which many of the greater works from the comics, portraits, posters, views of cities , wine houses etc etc are on display.

The city of Tarancon on heritage: City of Tarancon on heritage

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Tarancon: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Tarancon

There you a nice quant beautiful scenary ride in the mountain towns and into the valleys of the Province of Cuenca in Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of my beloved Spain. Hope you enjoy the ride and do try it , its great!!

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

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2 Comments to “The Serranias of my Spain!”

  1. Some lovely pictures, especially the fortress gate. I wonder when I shall see Spain again?

    Liked by 1 person

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