Archive for April 15th, 2020

April 15, 2020

The Castle at Garcimuñoz!

So lets bring you back to a memorable dear region of mine. Many recounted in my blog over the years and this was a find. First , I have a couple of entries already in blog on the total history but this is with new pictures. We first came here on our road warrior routes in the Province of Cuenca, region of Castilla La Mancha of the Kingdom of Spain.

We were driving back home base on the Autovia del Este (east highway) or A3 when we saw this castle in the distance. Somehow castles attracts me so we took a detour to see it and it was a pleasant surprise as this is the historicall and architecturally famous Castle of Garcimuñoz actually the village also the town’s name.

Garcimunoz

Allow me to tell you a bit more on this jewel of Spanish fortress-like castles.

The Castle of Garcimuñoz is a very small town of less then 70 folks right along the expressway A-3 Madrid-Valencia at km. 156. It is at 915 meters above sea level and the town is on a descend from it.  The walls of it are 3 meters thick and built to resist the attack of artillery of the times. On the lower level, it is reinforced with a slope making it difficult to conquered it. The form is square irregular and its corners are reinforce with circular cubes. On the north side you have the main entrance tower or Torre del Homenaje; these towers has a dome in bricks and crown with casements and ample space to move artillery.

garcimunoz

The fist owner was Garcimuñoz, a knight who accompanied King Alfonso VIII in his conquest of Cuenca in the 12C. It later passed into the hands of Prince Don Juan Manuel. It was reconstructed in the 15C by the Marquis of Villena, and it now represents the way the Arabic, Jewish and Christian cultures harmoniously live in the province of Cuenca.

garcimunoz

This is the castle that Don Juan Manuel inhabited since 1312 and the one that the Marquis of Villena, Don Juan Pacheco had built in 1458. The first references to the castle of Arab origin date from the year 1172 when the emir Abu Yacub Yusuf, on his way to Huete, destroys it and enslaves its women and children. Restored by Garcí-Muñoz, it was inhabited by Don Juan Manuel who controlled the Lordship of Villena from there, as the successive Marquis continued to do until Don Juan Pacheco moved the control center to Belmonte.

Garcimunoz

Don Juan Pacheco’s castle began construction in 1458 on the remains of the previous one that was demolished. The Garcimunoz castle has been restored from 2010-2.016 by Izaskun Chinchilla in postmodern style. A restoration where sculpture mixes with architecture, but worth visiting to appreciate the different styles of castle restoration.

This is the  Association Infante Don Juan Manuel to safekeep the castle in Spanish: Castillo Garcimuñoz association Don Juan Manuel

The tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the castle in English: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the castle

This is a really nice castle very sober on the outside pretty much like a fortress it was intended in reconquest times ,but inside very nicely renovated and stylish.  The Castillo de Garcimuñoz is a very good detour indeed, recommended.

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

 

 

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April 15, 2020

The little train of Cuenca!

Ok here is a subject of diverse opinions. I have mentioned before these are good for an initial trip on a city so we may come back for in depth look after. However, on some hilly towns they are a good way to move especially if you can get off and on. Let me tell you about one of our favorite after many visits to the city of Cuenca and its little tourist train! Tren Turistico de Cuenca, in the Province of Cuenca, and Autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha!

In Castilla-La Mancha is located one of the treasures of Spain. The city of Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will make us fall in love with its impressive historic center, its Cathedral, the Casas Colgadas or Hanging Houses and its cobbled streets. Religious music, art, history, adventure sports, among many other charms of the place will invite you to discover Cuenca in detail and style. One of the best walks you can do during your visit to this city will be on board the Tren Turistico or little tourist train. This picturesque and handsome vehicle will take you to some of the most visited monuments.

The Cuenca little tourist train offers you a single route that lasts 60 minutes and passes through the main attractions of the city. The tour begins at the old Castillo de Cuenca, passing by the Plaza Mayor, calle Calderón de la Barca ; Plaza del Trabuco and the Auditorium. The route of this train allows you to get off near the tourist attractions such as the San Julián Park, the Cathedral or the Casas Colgadas.

Cuenca

Do so with the family and it is sublime, Cuenca and especially the noted Unesco sites are on hills , steep and cobblestone streets walking is sublime but after a long day , taken a ride on the little tourist train is awesome. Hope you enjoy it too.

The official Tren Turistico webpage in Spanish is here: Tren Turistico de Cuenca

The tourist office of Cuenca on the routes to take even on foot or train: Tourist office of Cuenca route walks

Bear in mind early 2020 it was decided and agreed by the regional government and RENFE to offer more of this trains in a bigger scale call ‘Tourist Trains of Castilla-La Mancha. They will be an addition to the one already in existence at Sigüenza which from May 2020 will connect destinations such as Campo de Criptana, Almagro and Valdepeñas in the province of Ciudad Real; Albacete and Alcalá del Júcar in the province of Albacete; and in Cuenca. These of course pending the new health situation worldwide that is affecting greatly Spain.

Hope you enjoy taking one of these rides in the future, we do look forward to get back to them and go up those hilly steep streets of Cuenca with the Tren Turistico.

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

 

 

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April 15, 2020

Monasterio de Uclés, part II

Ok as usual I do a post on a general basis and then need must come back for more. This is the case of the Monastery of Uclés. I did my first post on June 15 2019.

I try not to repeat the text but need to provide my new readers with a beginning. The photos are new, not on the first post.

Again in my beloved Spain, and favorite region of Castilla La Mancha, of Don Quijote dreams and stories! One can never have enough here in the my Spain, everything under the Sun! I have written bits on Uclés ,but needs a special attention and this is the follow up. I will tell you a bit more on the Monastery,castle of Uclés in the province of Cuenca.

In our road warriors trips  in Castilla La Mancha region we stopped at a wonderful in country off the beaten path hilly and countryside Monastery of Uclés. This is located on the cutoff almost of the A3 highway to Madrid-Valencia.  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 its entire splendor.  However, for the less daring….you can come here on the A3 autovia Madrid-Valencia if coming from Madrid exit/salida 90,and from Valencia exit/ salida 91,  You can do so easier by the road from the A40 ( Autovía de Castilla-La Mancha)  exit or salida 244. 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 (see signs posted) until you see the access road to the monastery.

The webpages were posted in the first post on the Monastery of Uclés but again for the new readers and ease of use I will post them here again.

The official Monastery of Uclés in Spanish: Official Monasterio de Uclés

The tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Monastery with text in Spanish: Tourist office of Castilla la Mancha on the monastery

The city of Uclés on the Monastery in Spanish: City of Ucles on the monastery

Further information and history on the Monastery of Uclés, a must to visit!

The convent castle in Uclés has under its foundations a Celtiberian fort on which the Visigoths built a castrum that the Moors rebuilt and that, after the Christian conquest, the Knights of Santiago took advantage of to raise part of their buildings.

Ucles

The enclosure extended its walls and defenses around a square km of surface, which left the town in darkness an hour before the neighboring towns. The loss of the military character of the Santiago order after the Christian push accelerated the transformation of Uclés into a monastery. Its construction lasted more than two centuries.

Ucles

Ucles

Ucles

To access the complex, the traveler must cross a first basil wall that protected the orchard, watered by the Bedija river, leaving behind a second wall arranged in a rack, to reach the convent itself, built between 1529 and 1735. This Plateresque style construction started in 1529 by Carlos V , succeeds a Herrerian-style church 16C, an extensive parade ground 17C, the north and south wings and the main door, churriguresca style from 1735 built under the reign of king Felipe V.

Ucles

The tomb of the poet Jorge Manrique and his father Don Rodrigo Manrique, master of Santiago, is located in the church of the Uclés monastery. Inside its walls Santo Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the Dominicans, took the habit.

Ucles

Across it, there is still theh ruins of the Castle for its defense.

For a few years, the Order of Santiago had a headquarters in San Marcos de León that rivaled that of Uclés, until king Fernando III el Santo joined the two in 1230. Since then, Uclés has been considered the headquarters of this order to which illustrious artists such as Velázquez  and Quevedo belonged. It is a place with a lot of history and past, without a doubt. It is the motherhouse of the Santiago Military Order. On the one hand it is a convent and on the other castle. Built on part of the perimeter of the fortress of which the Torre de la Plata (Silver) and Torre del Homenaje (Homage) towers are preserved, the complex was donated by King Alfonso VIII to the military order to house the hosts that would fight in the Reconquest. This, with the arrival of the first master Don Pedro Fernández, turned it into a monastic fortress.

Ucles

Inside the Monastery of Ucles ,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.

Ucles

It is a wonderful imposing building you think you are coming to a city in the clouds high on a hill when coming from the sunflower fields awesome. Once there, the work still is impressive with a sober architecture but huge in history. Highly recommended to all.

And now I feel better that i have told you all about the Monastery of Uclés. Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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