Ciudad Real City
During the Middle Ages, four
kilometres of walls and one hundred and thirty towers protected
a population made up of Christians, Moors and Jews. After the
unification of the peninsular kingdoms under the Catholic Monarchs,
Ciudad Real became the capital of the province of La Mancha in
the 17th century. This fact favoured its economic development
which was poured into important buildings.
A good example of La Mancha Mudejar architecture (14th C.) is the Puerta de Toledo, one of the eight gates which opened in the city's walled area. Its pointed horseshoe arches are flanked by two square towers.
Alfonso X (the Wise)The unusual Gothic style in this city is shown in an artistic site planned by the founder of this city, Alfonso X (the Wise), and formed by three churches. Among them, the church of Santiago, the oldest of those preserved, is outstanding. Its origin is Gothic, but it was later enriched with a Mudejar roof and Baroque arches. Its mural paintings, one of which represents a seven-headed apocalyptic dragon, deserve attention.
The Cathedral of Santa María del Prod is another good example of the combination of styles, the consequence of a long construction process. Its earliest elements correspond to the 13th century, while the latest date from the 19th century Inside, the Baroque reredos and choir stalls are outstanding.
The third of these churches is that of San Pedro, a Gothic church from the end of the 14th century whose profile seems like a fortress. Its three doorways have decoration formed by archivolts, rosettes and decorated capitals. The architecture of this period uses Christian and Muslim elements indiscriminately, alternating Gothic pointed arches with Mudejar horseshoe ones, leading to a very unusual fusion of styles.
The area around the Plaza Mayor is a good area for tasting the wine with the La Mancha and Valdepeñas denominations of origin, which is good accompanied by some portions of the cheese from the region. Near the square we can get to know the typical elements of a large aristocratic La Mancha house. The Casa de Hernán López del Pulgar shows us, inside, a courtyard with columns and a Renaissance staircase.
The rest of modern Ciudad Real dates from the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, in which the Medrano Palace – the University Rectorate - the former Casino – now headquarters of the Musical Conservatory - and the Palace of the Provincial Government are outstanding. Meanwhile, the range of museums in Ciudad Real is centred on the Provincial Museum's archaeological treasures – the entrance door of the old synagogue is preserved here - and the Diocesan Museum.