Thursday, August 21, 2014

The ancient city of Cuenca

Cuenca is a city in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. It is the capital of the province of Cuenca, and one of the largest provinces in Spain, being almost as large as countries like Slovenia or Montenegro. Important Roman settlements, such as the ones found at Saelices and Valeria have also been located in Cuenca. 
The history of Cuenca is one of the richest in Spain, where traces of the Iron Age have surfaced through the remains of various burial grounds.
The city also serves as the site where the Roman Conca was established, which later became a territory ruled by the Visigoths, followed by the Moors, until liberation came by the hands of Alfonso VIII in 1177. It was from then on that Cuenca would enjoy the unique rights as a frontier town, eventually becoming the headquarters of the knightly Order of Santiago.
Today, the history of Cuenca, Spain is captured in the many attractions and intriguing sites from the past that are scattered about the land. The Cathedral, located in Plaza Mayor, dates back to 1177, and displays the allure of several different periods of architecture. Another worthy chapel called the Palcacio Episcopal dates back to the 13th century. While the Cathedral is rather historic, the Town Hall is relatively new (an 18th century gem). 
The hill on which the village thrives upon is thought inhabited since prehistoric times. After the Romans conquered the land, the Arabs converted it into a fortress, which was later taken back by Alfonso VIII. In Belmonte, an assortment of well-preserved churches, palaces, and convents hailing from between the 15th to 17th century reside.
In 1996, Cuenca was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its unusually well-preserved medieval fortified old city center. 

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