Have you ever been to a town nestled among walls of rock, with houses that seem to be hanging in the air?
The Hanging Houses that literally stand out over the gorge of the river Huecar in this Castile – La Mancha destination are sure to grab your attention. But this World Heritage City of cobbled streets and ancient buildings also has a modern side and is a centre of abstract art. The old and the new together, less than two hours from Valencia.
A tour of the historic centre
It’s worth climbing the hills and winding streets into the centre of this town between the gorges of the Júcar and the Huécar to enjoy the amazing views. Be sure to see the Plaza Mayor, with the arcaded Town Hall and the pretty Cathedral, which was begun in the late 12th century.
Behind the Cathedral, a street leads to the Hanging Houses, the symbol of Cuenca. Three of the houses can be visited: Casa de la Sirena (there is a restaurant inside) and the Casas del Rey, home to the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, with works by famous artists like Tápies, Chillida and Saura.To get spectacular photos of the hanging houses, master your fear of heights and cross the iron footbridge of Puente de San Pablo. At the other end is the Convent of San Pablo, now a Parador and one of the best places to spend the night in the city, which looks even more stunning at night in the floodlights.Cuenca will also surprise you with curious places like the “skyscraper” of the San Martín district or the tunnel you can walk through on Calle Alfonso VIII. If you like museums, there are more to see: the Antonio Saura Foundation, the Antonio Pérez Foundation, the Science Museums… And if you’re interested in local traditions, the Easter Museum is devoted to the city’s most famous fiesta.
Castilian cuisine and places to swim
Cuenca is certainly good to look at. But it’s easy to find something good to eat, too. At mealtimes, you can find the best of the hearty local dishes in the Castilian-style restaurants: morteruelo (meatloaf), ajoarriero (a cod dish), the local liqueur resolí, alajú for dessert… On and around the Plaza Mayor you will find plenty of bars, although other areas also have good restaurants, such as the Castillo district in the upper part of the town, always bustling thanks to its pavement cafés and viewing points over the gorge. And if you want something different, there are more modern restaurants with signature cuisine, flamenco taverns, and a bar carved out of the ground floor of a palace.The natural side of the city can be enjoyed most in summer, when you can have a dip in the Hoz de Júcar swimming area, followed by a delicious rice with lobster at a nearby restaurant. Another option is walking the Cerro del Socorro route, or if you want to see a really unusual place, taking a 30-kilometre side trip to see the bizarrely eroded rocks of Ciudad Encantada, some shaped like animals or human figures.
There´s a good saying in Cuenca very popular..
«Te voy a poner mirando para Cuenca»
-I’m going to put you looking for Cuenca. ( Literally translation )
The infidelities of Philip the Handsome » FELIPE EL HERMOSO»
Although there are several theories regarding its origin, the best known about the origin of this sexual expression would be related, as published by various media, with the reputation of Philip the Handsome as a womanizer. Although seeing his paintings he did not especially honor his name, his wife Juana I of Castile, better known as Juana La Loca lost her temper precisely because of the jealousy caused by the multiple infidelities of her husband. Hence the name Juana La Loca, although several studies published in 2014 indicate that she suffered from schizophrenia has not been confirmed.
During his reign the court of Castile was located in Toledo so, taking advantage of the location in the center of the Peninsula, the monarch decided to build an astronomy tower through which all the cities of the kingdom could be seen. Yes, as you can see at the beginning, it was quite literal.
With this didactic and geographical excuse he would take his mistresses up to this enclave and apologize both to his wife and to the courtiers saying: «I’m going to put her looking at Cuenca». And, of course, what he was going to do was precisely that.
From then on, popular culture had its way. Knowing the erotic-festive intentions of the monarch, the king’s guards, many of them from Cuenca, began to use the expression in the brothels of Castile and its use spread like wildfire.
THE HAUNTED CITY
Located in the village headman Valdecabras (BASIN), in the heart of the Natural Park of the Cuenca mounntains and surrounded by huge pines, the Enchanted City is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places in our country where you can meet and learn karst geological process and admire his whimsical formations. Therefore, the Encahted City was declared a Natural Site of National Interest on June 11, 1929.
It dates back to 90 million years ago, when Enchanted City was part of the seabed of Thetis. It was quiet waters, which led to the deposition of salts, especially calcium carbonate.
At the end of the Cretaceous as a result of the Alpine orogeny, the sea retreated and seabed, composed of limestone surfaceed. Thousands of years of action of water, wind and ice can do today to see this amaxing geological phenomenon in which children and adults will enjoy a magical setting where you let your imagination run…
Where you could visit in Cuenca?
- Casas Colgadas
- Plaza Mayor
- Puente de San Pablo
Río Huécar, Cuenca, Cuenca
- Rascacielos de San Martín
Calle Alfonso VIII, 37, 16001 Cuenca
- Torre de Mangana
Calle Sta. María, 1, 16001 Cuenca
- Mirador de Florencio Cañas
Ronda Julián Romero, 8, 16001 Cuenca
- Mirador Barrio del Castillo
Calle Larga, 37, 16001 Cuenca
- Mirador Hoz del Júcar
- Mirador del Rey
Calle Larga, 41, 16001 Cuenca