Castile-La Mancha – an autonomous community of Spain

Castilla–La Mancha, or Castile-La Mancha, is an autonomous community of Spain. Comprising the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo, it was created in 1982. The government headquarters are in Toledo.

It is bordered by Castile and León community, Madrid community, Aragon community, Valencian community, Murcia community, Andalusia community, and Extremadura community.

It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain’s regions. Albacete, Guadalajara, Toledo, Talavera de la Reina and Ciudad Real concentrate the largest urban areas in the region.

Tourism and main attractions

The art of architecture has left beautiful monuments in Castilla-La Mancha throughout history, the result of the peoples and cultures that have inhabited these lands.

In Roman times, monuments such as the Roman circus of Toledo dating from the first century, or the Roman city of Segóbriga in the province of Cuenca, stand out.

Later, the Visigothic culture also left its mark on the Community, the remains of the Basilica of Cabeza de Griego, in Cuenca, or the church of San Pedro de la Mata de Sonseca (Toledo) attest to this.

The importance of Toledo during the high Middle Ages is reflected in a multitude of monuments that have survived to the present day, among which the church of Santa María de Melque, located near La Puebla de Montalbán, stands out.

In Ciudad Real there are works of Mudejar architecture such as the Puerta de Toledo or the church of Santiago.

During the long historical period that the Middle Ages occupy, fortifications and buildings of a religious nature were erected, which even today are surprising due to their dimensions. Among all, the Castillo de San Servando (Toledo) from the early 10th century, the castle of Belmonte in the province of Cuenca.

The Cathedral of Sigüenza built between 1144-1326 and of Romanesque-Gothic character, the Cathedral of Cuenca (built between 1196 and 1257), and the Cathedral of Toledo (1226-1493) are the key buildings within Spanish Gothic architecture.

Later, and already in the 14th century, the castle of Almansa is a more refined example of defensive architecture. In another aspect, the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes (XV-XVI centuries) or the Palacio del Infantado in Guadalajara show Gothic-Elizabethan features. Also from this period are the Hanging Houses of Cuenca, or groups such as the main square of Alcaraz, that of Tembleque, or that of Villanueva de los Infantes.

The Spanish baroque has a clear exponent in the “transparent” of the cathedral of Toledo by Narciso Tomé, where sculpture and architecture are integrated to achieve a dramatic effect of light.

Later, we find neoclassical-inspired buildings in the 20th century, such as the Pasaje de Lodares de Albacete (1925) in the modernist style and designed by Buenaventura Ferrando Castells, or the Ciudad Real City Hall building (1976) in the Neoclassical and inspired by Flanders, the work of the architect Fernando Higueras.

In the 21st century, the most outstanding buildings are the Torre de Caja de Guadalajara in the capital of Alcarria, designed by the architects Solano & Catalán, the buildings of the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Albacete.

Popular architecture in Castilla-La Mancha has different aspects depending on the different geographical areas of the Community, as a result of the extension of the territory.

In the central area of La Mancha, the typical constructions of windmills that have gone around the world thanks to the work of Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote Route), stand out, or the silos, caves that served as storage functions.

Valverde de los Arroyos, a clear example of black architecture. Black architecture develops in the northwest of the province of Guadalajara, using slate as a fundamental element for construction. From its dark color comes the name of this type of building.

What to see?

Albacete province

Albacete – the largest and the most populated city in Castilla-La Mancha

Alcalá del Júcar and its castle

Alcaraz and its attractions

Almansa and its castle

Carcelén castle dates from the 14th century

Chinchilla de Montearagón and its attractions

Chinchilla de Montearagón Castle is located in one of the most strategic places in Spain

Ciudad Real province

Alcázar de San Juan and its mills

Alhambra castle may have an Umayyad origin

Almagro – a historic-artistic complex

Calatrava la Nueva – a medieval castle and convent

Campo de Criptana and its windmills

Ciudad Real and its attractions

Doña Berenguela castle – a former Moorish fortress

Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park

Palace of the Marquis of Santa Cruz – the headquarters of the General Archive of the Spanish Navy

Peñarroya castle dates back to 1198

Peñarroya Reservoir

Valdepeñas – city of Wine

Villanueva de los Infantes – National Historic Site

Cuenca province

Alarcón and its attractions

Archaeological Park of Segóbriga

Belmonte and its attractions

Belmonte castle – one of the most emblematic in Spain

Cuenca – a UNESCO site

Garcimuñoz castle and its architecture

Tarancón and its attractions

Toba reservoir on the Júcar river

Uña lagoon – a part of the Serranía de Cuenca natural park

Guadalajara province

Almonacid de Zorita and its attractions

Atienza and its attractions

Brihuega – the lavender city

Cifuentes and its castle

Entrepeñas reservoir and its water activities

Galve de Sorbe castle was built in the 15th century for the house of Zúñiga

Guadalajara and its attractions

Hita and its attractions

Jadraque castle dates to the late 15th century

Monastery of Santa María de Monsalud – an old Cistercian monastery

Pastrana and its attraction

Recópolis – an ancient city of Visigothic origin

Sigüenza – a historic-artistic complex

Torija castle first built by the Knights Templar in the 11th century

Zorita de los Canes castle was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931

Valverde de los Arroyos

Toledo province

Barcience castle dates back to the XV century

Casarrubios del Monte castle dates back to the 15th century

Castillo de la Vela was declared a historical monument of art in 1931

Consuegra and its windmills

El Toboso – the homeland of Dulcinea, a character from Don Quixote de la Mancha

Guadamur castle was declared a historical-artistic monument

Illescas and its attractions

Escalona and its castle-palace

La Puebla de Montalbán and its attractions

Ocaña and its attractions

Orgaz castle was built in the 14th century

Oropesa and its castle

Puñoenrostro castle dates back to the XIV century

Talavera de la Reina and its pottery craft

Tembleque and its Plaza Mayor

Toledo – a UNESCO site

Transport and how to get to?

Railways

Renfe, Spain’s state-owned railway operator operates numerous trains throughout Castilla–La Mancha.

Long distance

Numerous long-distance rail lines (líneas de largo recorrido) pass through Castilla–La Mancha, most of them radiating out of Madrid. Some of these are high-velocity trains (Alta Velocidad Española AVE):

High velocity AVE trains

Madrid–Ciudad Real–CórdobaSeville).
Madrid–Toledo
Madrid–Guadalajara–Zaragoza–Barcelona.

Normal Largo Recorrido trains

Alicante–Albacete–Alcázar de San Juan–Ciudad Real
Madrid–Ciudad Real–Jaén
Madrid–Ciudad Real–Badajoz
Madrid–Cuenca–Valencia
Madrid–Guadalajara–Soria
Madrid–Guadalajara–Arcos de Jalón
Madrid–Talavera de la Reina–Badajoz

Airports

Air transport is marginal in the region. Castilla–La Mancha has two airports, the Albacete Airport (no cargo transport and with an insignificant civilian use) and the Ciudad Real Central Airport, which was affected by the 2008 crisis and closed in 2012, although efforts have been pursued to reactivate the latter. Relatively close airports outside the region include those in Madrid, Valencia and Alicante.

Main information

Area: 79 463 km²

GPS coordinates: 39°30′00″N 3°00′00″W

Language: Spanish

Population: 2 045 221

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1, in summer +2

Subdivisions

5 provinces, 919 municipalities.

Main festival

Castilla-La Mancha Day is the festive day of the Spanish autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It is celebrated on May 31, commemorating the anniversary of the constitution of the Regional Courts for the first time in its history. The first time it was held was in 1984. At the event, the Gold Medals of the Region were awarded.

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