The province of Toledo offers a wide variety of plans throughout the year that allow you to enjoy not only the beautiful landscapes of La Mancha, but also villages full of art and history. And a magnificent gastronomy that will leave no one indifferent.
El Toboso. When you read this name, you will surely think of the famous nobleman Don Quixote de La Mancha and, specifically, of his beloved, Dulcinea. Thanks to Miguel de Cervantes, El Toboso is one of the best known towns in the world. The authorities, with the aim of promoting the municipality, created the literary route. Here you can follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote and Sancho in the the town. Beyond that, once again it is possible to enjoy a prolific civil and religious architecture, and an infinite number of religious and secular festivities.
Illescas, which many will know for being the homeland of one of the most renowned chefs in the country, Pepe Rodríguez, is one of the most populated municipalities in the province of Toledo. Inhabited since prehistoric times, there are also remains from Roman and Moorish times, when a fortress was built.
After the Reconquest, there were constant disputes between the town and the cathedral chapter. It wasn’t until 1575 that Illescas finally was under royal jurisdiction, becoming a place of recreation for the kings. The Mudejar-style Arch of Ugena is all that’s left of the old ‘Puerta de Ugena’, one of the five gates in the walled enclosure. For art lovers, the 16th-century Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad contains five paintings by El Greco, such as La Caridad or Coronación de la Virgen. The parish church and its Mudejar tower were declared a national monument in 1920.
Consuegra, thanks to its windmills, the giants of Don Quixote’s novel, is one of the most beautiful and well-known villages in Castile La Mancha. The term ‘consuegra’ derives from the ancient pre-Roman city of Consabura, the meaning of which referred to the confluence of the river Sabo. Its historical heritage is fascinating, with monuments such as the Castillo de la Muela, the churches of San Juan Bautista, Santísimo Cristo de la Vera Cruz and Santa María and the Convent of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores.
The 12 windmills, most of them dating from the 19th century, line the Calderico hill. Nowadays they are used exclusively for tourist purposes, with the ‘molienda de la paz’ (grinding of peace). Likewise, the last weekend of October sees the celebration of the Saffron Rose Festival, declared a Tourist Interest.
Burujón, thanks to its privileged location in a valley, has wonderful landscapes, but also an important historical and architectural heritage. The Church of San Pedro Apóstol, the Mudejar-style San Pantaleón Hermitage and the Cifuentes Palace are good examples of this. We must not forget its natural heritage, such as the Tree of Colours or the marvellous Calaña and Castrejón Ravines, declared a Natural Monument. This is a geological site, known as the Spanish Colorado Canyon. It has been compared to the landscape of Mars, due to the reddish colour that paints its walls at sunset.
Located next to the Sierra de Gredos, Oropesa, also known as Oropesa y la Corchuela, was conquered by the Romans. Then, by the Arabs, and finally reconquered in the 11th century. It is worth mentioning that the name of this town appears in the Libro de buen amor (Book of Good Love) by the Archpriest of Hita. Once again, its cultural heritage is not far behind. The Plaza de Navarro square with the Clock Tower, the Castle of Oropesa or the Hermitage of Las Peñitas explain the interest. The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, the Palacio Nuevo and the Colegio de Jesuitas were declared Assets of Cultural Interest.
Escalona is well known for its magnificent medieval castle-palace. This 15th century Mudejar construction is considered as one of the most beautiful in Toledo. Nowadays the palace part has been restored and is private property. A good part of the old wall has been preserved and the Conceptionist convent is also important. The 1968 film Villa Cabalga, starring Yul Brunner and Robert Michum, was partially filmed here. It is possible to see its walled silhouette, the bridge and the banks of the river.
This small village is located in the south of the province of Toledo and is thought to be the ancient Barnices mentioned by Ptolemy in Carpetania. It belonged to the county of Orgaz. There are several monuments and places of interest in this town. The Church of Santo Tomás Apóstol, designed by Churriguera in the 18th century, the 14th century Orgaz Castle and the Cinco Ojos bridge, for example. On 17 January the festival of San Antón is celebrated, with luminaries that are lit in the different neighbourhoods and a tasting of the typical migas. It is worth mentioning that around 5,500 people have the surname Orgaz.
In the Montes de Toledo region lies the town of Guadamur and its imposing castle. This extraordinarily well-preserved fortress is currently inhabited, but it is possible to walk around the outside. Built by the Count of Fuensalida, Don Pedro López de Ayala, it was built on the site of a Muslim fortress. It was occasionally inhabited by renowned figures such as Philip the Handsome and Queen Joanna, Emperor Charles V and, as a prisoner, the Princess of Eboli. The religious architecture with the Parish Church of Santa María Magdalena are also important, as well as the Hermitage of San Antón and Nuestra Señora de la Natividad.
The history of Tembleque is closely linked to the city of Toledo and its first occupants were the Romans. In this town, the most outstanding feature is undoubtedly its impressive and curious Plaza Mayor. Typical of La Mancha, it has a square floor plan with a portico of granite columns. The upper floor has corridors with wooden supports and ornamentation, in the style of 17th century constructions. Curiously, it was designed to serve as the centre of town life, but also as a bullring. As far as religious architecture is concerned, the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, the Ermita de la Purísima Concepción and the Ermita del Cristo del Valle are some examples. The novel The Last Jew, by Noah Gordon, names the town, as one of the antagonists, Count Ferran Vasca, lives in one of its castles.
Located in the northeast of the province, Ocaña is a town that stands out, once again, for its varied civil and religious architecture. Its main square, dating from the 18th century, has a Baroque appearance and a parallelogram-shaped ground plan. The tower of the church of San Martín was declared a site of cultural interest in 2002. The Fuente Grande, built by Juan de Herrera in the 16th century, and the Palacio de Cárdenas, declared historic-artistic monuments. It is also worth mentioning the Rollo de Justicia or Picota from the 15th century. This stone column topped by a wrought iron cross is located in the Plaza de José María Prada and represents the town’s ratification as a town.
Maqueda, belonging to the region of Torrijos, is a tiny, beautiful town in Castile La Mancha. The Castillo de la Vela Castle is one of its main attractions and it was declared a historic-artistic monument in 1931. Rectangular in shape, its walls are 3.5 metres thick and are protected by moats and three circular towers. Curiously, the Spanish state put it up for auction in March 2013 and it previously housed a Civil Guard barracks. Other places of interest for the visitor are the parish church of Santa María de los Alcázares, in Gothic-Mudejar style from the 15th century, the Puerta Califal or the Torre de la Vela. Toledo has a place for every visitor.
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