Monasterio de Uclés, Uclés, Province of Cuenca!!!

This is one of the gem you need a car to see the world better. In what can be an off the beaten path trip deep into Castilla La Mancha region this a must to see. I like to bring back this older post with a nice anecdote to you. Hope you enjoy the Monastery of Uclés!!!

And again in my beloved Spain, and favorite region of Castilla La Mancha, of Don Quijote dreams and stories! One can never have enough in my Spain, everything under the Sun! I have written bits on Uclés before but needs a special attention and this is it. I will tell you a bit on the Monastery,castle of Uclés in the province of Cuenca. In our tours as road warriors 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 of course, 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. A wonderful decision we will cherish forever in the family; my dear late wife Martine was a bit scare on the dusty road but I got all there safe. 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 taking 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 until you see the access road to the monastery.



A bit of its great history I like

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 1057, 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 after 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 known 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. But we won the war::)

On the site of the Monastery, there was a castle from the 11C of Arab/Moors design. The Monastery of Uclés was 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 San Lorenzo de El Escorial. After the end of the Reconquest, the monastery underwent a radical remodeling, which ended with much of the defensive elements of the castle and gave it the current aspect. Not so with the walls, which are still preserved: A first wall protected the old orchard, irrigated with the waters of the Bedija river; a second, currently in a very bad state, still reveals its disposition in the form of serrated teeth. From the old fortress of the order of Santiago are three towers remaining. The three towers, in north-south direction  are: The tower of the Pontido, joined by a bridge with the tower of the Palomar, then a moat dug in rock, which was conquered by means of a drawbridge and that with elevated with a wall leading to the Tower Albarrana.



During the Spanish 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 (as both sides killed). 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.


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.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Monastery of Uclés:

The city of Uclés on the Monastery:

The Castilla La Mancha region on the Monastery:

It is a wonderful countryside in the 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 ! Enjoy the Monastery of Uclés as we did! It’s a must to visit me think.

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

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