What to see in Alcalá del Júcar is the panoramic view from the castle; the entire route through the fortified cave of Agradén, the historical centre and other attractions mentioned in the section “What to see in Alcalá del Júcar” can take us one morning.
Due to its location, which allows easy defense and has abundant water and fertile fields, it has been a populated place since ancient times. Its name of Arab origin Al-ka-la (castle) denotes the military character of this town, located in a wild place. The shortage of fountains dates back to its conquest by Alfonso VIII of Castile in 1213.
Strategically located in front of a bridge over which the Camino Real connects Castile with the Levante, it served as a customs house during the 14th and 15th centuries. Like other strongholds of the Marquisate of Villena, its period of greatest splendour took place in the 15th century. At that time this lineage played a major role in the noble struggles of Castile, a period in the history of Alcalá del Júcar during which its rock castle was reformed.
The visitor’s attention is drawn to the unity of style of its urban centre, made up of white houses attached to a huge rock. The houses hide inside deep caves that cross the rock to the other side of the Júcar. Their peculiarity lies in their ability to maintain the same temperature naturally throughout the year.
Within the old town, the El Diablo and Masagó Caves are a must see in Alcalá del Júcar. They allow us to understand what it means to live in such a natural environment. They are cavities that were drilled at the beginning of the 20th century for uses such as dovecots and warehouses.
The oldest and most interesting is the Agradén Cave, one of the few known examples of a fortified cave. According to tradition, its easy protection and the comfort of its environment motivated the Moorish king Agradén to inhabit it. The cave was mentioned in 1221 by King Alfonso VIII himself, who was so linked to this town in Albacete.
The visit to what to see in Alcalá del Júcar is done through its narrow and steep streets, which ascend to the Castle (very restored). From there you can enjoy magnificent views of the gorge. Its origin would be linked to the Muslims. However, it would pass into Christian hands after the successful expansion of Alfonso VIII (1155-1214) over the Almohad domains. Its pentagonal tower, the product of low-medieval reforms, and its spectacular location are particularly noteworthy.
The bridge, of Roman origin and reconstructed in the 18th century, allows us to access the eclectic Parish Church of San Andrés ( 15-18th centuries), with a Latin cross plan and an academic tower and façade.
In front of the Alcalá del Júcar Castle, on the other side of the river, we find a singular bullring (1902). It is unique in Spain because of its location on the side of the mountain, which gives it an irregular configuration. It also hosted theatrical performances.
Three kilometres away is the Hermitage of San Lorenzo, which has stood on a promontory at least since 1579. It was rebuilt in the 18th century after the collapse of its dome and tower, giving the whole complex a curious classicist appearance. It includes paintings dated in 1805.
39° 11′ 34″ N, 1° 25′ 45″ W
Albacete 64 km, Madrid 289 km
Amongst all the things to see in Alcalá del Júcar, there is nothing like going to its parties. First, San Blas (3 February); Las Eras (9 May). Second, San Isidro (15 May); San Antonio (13 June). Third, Festivals in honour of San Lorenzo (from 7 to 15 August); San Roque (16 August).
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