Molina de Aragon!!

Oh yes another wonderful old town of my dear Spain; this is deep country and our road warrior trips at its best. There are so many towns that will take you a life time to see them all, and each is unique. Let me do a mix here update an older post and add new text and picture for a complete look of Molina de Aragon. Hope you enjoy it as I.

I go around these towns a lot on my roundtrips between France and Spain, and sometimes wish I could have spent more times in them. Molina de Aragon is in the province of Guadalajara in the Autonomous Community (region) of Castilla La Mancha.

A bit of history I like

During the reconquest it was taken by the Aragonese king Alfonso I the Battler (Batallador)  in 1128. Around 1139, the lands were taken again by Manrique de Lara, and the zone was constituted in independent lordship, in favor of this later, that granted to the town of Molina  in 1142. king Enrique II of Castila donated Molina to his Lieutenant Bertrand du Guesclin (famous knight of France), although the people, in the context of the war between Castilla and Aragon, rebelled and decided to put it under the sovereignty of Aragon in the year 1366, culminating the process three years later with the acceptance on the part of the Aragonese king. He finally returned to Castilian hands in 1375, to be given the lordship in the marriage of Leonor ,Infanta of Aragon in her marriage to the Infante Juan de Castilla. During the Spanish war of Independence(or peninsular war ), the behavior of resistance of the inhabitants to the Napoleonic troops, motivated that these, in retaliation, burned the villa. In recognition, the Spanish courts granted the city with the title of “very noble and very loyal city”.

And for the main item in my opinion is the castle of Molina de Aragon , with a second the former Monastery of San Francisco. Let me give some history and info on them I like

The Castillo de Molina de Aragón castle, also called Fortaleza de Molina de los Caballeros fortress, is in a state of consolidated ruin, and it is possible to visit it on request.  The origin of this fortress goes back to an Alcazar that raised the Andalusians on an old Celtiberian castrum between the 10C and 11C, and in which they placed their residence the Kings that governed this Taifa (moors kingdom or territory). Until it was definitively snatched from the Andalusians  by king Alfonso I of Aragon in the year 1129, which ordered to rebuild it, giving it its current aspect of a Romanesque castle,history goes on but I just tell you that after many change of hands finally, the fifth lady, Doña Blanca de Molina, finished giving it  the size and the current aspect of today.

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It is the largest castle of those that are currently in Guadalajara province. It has an outer wall, with numerous defense towers, which surrounds the perimeter and protects the fortress itself. The inner castle came to have eight towers, of which are preserved remains of two and four other in good condition.  The fortress has two enclosures: the exterior or large proportions, 80×40 meters, defended by various battlements and the interior, where the castle is raised with six towers, four in good condition or restored.  The exterior enclosure has five access doors: The north Traicion gate (betrayal), the Caballos (horses) to the south, the Campo (field) to the east and the Puertas (doors) of the clock tower and Puerta de Hogalobos gate to the west. In addition to these ,there are others on the wall that surrounded the medieval city, such as Medinaceli, Baños, Valencia and the Puente (bridge).  The access to the exterior enclosure of the fortress is carried out by the door of the clock tower and to the interior, after crossing the Patio de Armas (Arms courtyard), by the door located in the tower of Veladores (lookout sailors)  on the interior enclosure; Next to it are aligned the central tower or of the arms and the tower of the Homenaje (homage)  or Doña Blanca. On the north wall is the Cubiertas (covered) or Caballeros (knights) tower.

The Molina de Aragon tourist office on the castlehttps://www.turismomolinadearagon.com/castillomolinadearag%C3%B3n

The other sight to see here is the former Monasterio de San Francisco, a franciscan monastery founded in the 13C ,now is a senior citizen home managed by the Hermanas de la Caridad de Santa Ana (sisters of charity of Ste Anne), and on another space there is a small museo Comarcal de Molina de Aragon or town museum on its history.

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This monastery was founded in 1284 for Blanca Alfonso de Molina who was granddaughter of king Alfonso IX of Léon. In 1810 the invading French general Roquet put fire to the town with a quarter of its buildings destroyed; the Franciscan left town after been heavily damaged. By 1836 due to the laws of Mendizàbal (separation church and state!) officially declared the religious Franciscan prohibited from living in the monastery. The monastery became property of the State and a hospital was created there. Finally in 1886; the church monastery was occupied by the Hermanas de la Caridad de Santa Ana creating a hospital for the poor called Hospital de Santo Domingo.

The church of the monastery was build in a Gothic style but later in the 16-17C was modified. The church has one nave, and covered with vaults that rest on columns. One each side are chapels of a renaissance style with the one of the Evangelio Chapel ,the most ornate as well as the Chapel of the Epistola. At the height of the church you see the choir of great dimensions. The founder Blanca Alfonso de Molina was buried here in the center of the monastery church. Later in the 19C due to the laws of Mendizàbal they were transferred to the Church San Gil in town. After the fire of the monastery that destroyed the church in 1915 these burials were lost. The tower of the church monastery is of a square shape with three bodies two of which are higher than the monastery, there is one with bells, one another has an archangel on top bearing a flag that is know locally as the Giraldo de Molina.

The Molina de Aragon tourist office with some info on the former monastery and museum: https://www.turismomolinadearagon.com/museos-y-espacios-culturales73b68a92

Other things to see here with more time are

The Church of Santa Clara, a wonderful example of roman style architecture.  It was built in the second half of the 12C, the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor de San Gil with a nice retable and baptismal fonts. The Church San Felipe 17C Gothic style; from outside see the roman style Chapel de la Soledad, Church Santa Maria del Condé, Church of San Pedro all modified in the 17C. You see the picturesque puente romano or viejo or old roman bridge over the Gallo river, a medieval work.

As an anecdote, the Vuelta de España or tour of Spain bicycle race passed by here last August 17 2021 on the 4th stage won by Fabio Jakobsen of Netherlands. The course was from Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragon.

The Spain tourist board on Molina de Aragonhttps://www.spain.info/en/destination/molina-aragon/

For reference the town of Molina de Aragon webpage: http://Noticias | Microsites (molinadearagon.es)

There you go folks, another dandy in my beloved Spain and wonderful region of Castilla La Mancha, in country Spain from its foundations. Enjoy Molina de Aragon , the town and the thrill of driving in mountain barren areas is good indeed.

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

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