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Flag of Castile la ManchaCastile la Mancha

The five provinces of Castile la Mancha are:

  • Toledo
  • Cuenca
  • Ciudad Real
  • Albacete
  • Guadalajara

This region, also quite large in size, is located south of Madrid and occupies what was the southern part of the ancient kingdom of Castille, including the area known as La Mancha, universally famous as the setting for Miguel de Cervantes great novel "Don Quijote de la Mancha".

Toledo, the capital of this Autonomous Community, is without a doubt one of the densest monumental cities in the world. Nearly all the different stages of Spanish art are represented in Toledo, which has Moorish-Mudejar-Jewish buildings, such as the Transito and Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogues; Gothic structures, such as the splendid cathedral: and Renaissance buildings. In the 16th century, the city became home to El Greco, and Toledo has many of his paintings, among which is "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz", his masterpiece which is housed in the Mudejar Church of Santo Tome. Among its many museums, of special note is the one located in the old Santa Cruz Hospital.

Cuenca, located in a natural setting of phantasmagorical beauty, has a marked medieval charm. Famous are its so-called "hanging houses", buildings that appear suspended over a steep gorge. The city centre, remarkably beautiful, is presided over by a magnificent Gothic cathedral. It's Museum of Abstract Art is one of the finest of its kind.

Ciudad Real is the traditional capital of La Mancha. Nearby, one can still see the marvellous spectacle put on by the windmills in Campo de Criptana, which Don Quijote battled after mistaking them for giants. In Almagro, there is an important international theatre festival.

Albacete, the capital of the province of the same name, is renowned for its knife-making industry. It also has a 16th century cathedral.

Guadalajara has preserved the better part of its Moorish walls and a bridge over the Henares river that dates from the 10th and 11th centuries. Among its churches, worthy of special mention is Santa Maria la Mayor, Mudejar in style, and the Duque del Infantado Palace, from the 15th century.

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