Guadalajara, Spain Tourist Attractions
Guadalajara, chief town of its province, situated above the left bank of the Río Henares some 56km/35mi from Madrid, is now very much under the influence of the capital. Its name is derived from the Arabic Wad al-Hajarah ("river of stones"). The powerful Mendoza family, who gained possession of Guadalajara in the 14th century, left their mark on the town. During the Spanish Civil War, in March 1937, the "battle of Guadalajara" between Republican and Italian forces was fought at Brihuega, northeast of the town.
Palacio del Duque del Infantado
The Palacio del Duque del Infantado, in a style which mingles Late Gothic and Mudéjar features, was built for the Mendoza family between 1461 and 1480 by the French-born architect Juan Guas, and ranks as one of his finest achievements. King Francis I of France was sumptuously received in the palace after being taken prisoner in the battle of Pavia (1525), and Philip II married Elisabeth de Valois here. During the Civil War the palace was largely destroyed but was subsequently rebuilt. The facade has faceted stonework and is topped by a projecting gallery with finely carved columns. It has a beautiful two-story Isabelline patio.
Address: Avenida del Infantado del Ejército, Spain
Opening hours: 10am-2pm, 4pm-7pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Castile-la Mancha Day - Spain (May 31), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: Adult Free
Museum of Art
The interior of the Palacio del Duque del Infantado is magnificently decorated, and now houses the Museo de Bellas Artes, with a collection consisting mainly of 15th-17th century works.
Santa María de la Fuente
The 13th century church of Santa María de la Fuente, built on the site of an earlier mosque, has a minaret-like tower in Mudéjar style and contains a number of 15th century tombs.
Convento de la Piedad
The Convento de la Piedad, a nunnery founded by Doña Brianda de Mendoza about 1530, is now an institute. The finest part of the building is the cloister, which has Plateresque doorways and double arcades. The foundress is buried in an alabaster tomb.
Through the Montes de Encinas
Leave Guadalajara on N II, which runs northeast over the Castilian plateau in the direction of Zaragoza, coming in 18km/11mi to Torija (alt. 964m/3,163ft), with a 13th century Templar castle which was destroyed by Juan Martín el Empecinado in 1811 but has been restored in recent years. The parish church contains some fine pieces of goldsmith's work.
From the turn-off for Sigüenza N II climbs through Algora (alt. 1,116m/3,662ft) into the Sierra Ministra, from which there is a fine view of Sigüenza. It then continues by way of Saúca (alt. 1,200m/3,940ft) to Alcolea del Pinar (alt. 1,205m/3,955ft), where it turns north to Medinaceli.
Molina de Aragon
At Alcolea del Pinar we turn right into N 211, which climbs to the Puerto de Maranchón (1,250m/4,100ft) and then descends to Molina de Aragón, a picturesque little town with a history going back to pre-Arab times. On a hill above the town is an imposing stronghold surrounded by walls and towers, the finest of which is the Torre de Aragón (11th C.). Features of interest in the town are the old Jewish quarter and the 12th Century church of San Gil, which contains the tomb of Doña Blanca, Duchess of Molina (d. 1283).
To the Mar de Castilla
From Torija, C 201 runs east to the old fortified town of Brihuega (alt. 886m/2907ft), situated above the valley of the Río Tajuña. Above Brihuega can be seen the ruins of the 12th century Castillo de Piedra Bermeja, and in the town itself are the parish church of Santa María de la Peña, with a fine retablo, the arcaded Plaza Mayor and the gardens round the Real Fábrica de Paños (the old Royal Cloth Manufactory).
The village of Villaviciosa, a short distance away from Brihuega, was the scene of a battle in 1710 which decided the result of the War of the Spanish Succession and brought Philip V to the throne.
From Brihuega the road (C 201, then N 204) continues to Cifuentes, at the foot of the Sierra de Megorrón. The town, which takes its name from the numerous springs in the area, has a handsome Plaza Mayor and a church (12th-13th century) with a Late Romanesque doorway. On a hill above the town is a castle built by Juan Manuel in 1324.
Sea of Castile
South of Cifuentes on N 204 is the Mar de Castilla, a very beautiful lake district, with two large artificial lakes, the Embalse de Entrepeñas and Embalse de Buendía, and a smaller one, the Embalse de Bolarque. The water stored in these reservoirs is used for irrigation and for the production of hydro- electricity. At the Embalse de Zorita, to the south of the lake district, there is also an atomic power station. These great expanses of water and the country round them are a popular recreation area for the people of Madrid.
N 204 crosses the Embalse de Entrepeñas half way down its length and joins N 320 at Sacedón. From N 320 a secondary road runs south to Pastrana, which has a fine 14th century Gothic church, with a retablo by Juan de Vigarny (16th C.) and the tomb of a Princess of Éboli who was exiled to Pastrana.