Zone Mancha

Alcázar de San Juan

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30766 inhabitants

A 90 Km. from the capital

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It is located in the middle of the plain, in the heart of La Mancha, and only 150 kilometres south of Madrid. In its municipal district, there is an interesting salt lake complex declared a Biosphere Nature Reserve and two minor entities of special personality, the hamlet of Alameda de Cervera, and the EATIM of Cinco Casas.

AVAILABLE SERVICES

Tourist accommodation

TOURIST ACCOMMODATION

Camper

CAMPER

Bank

BANK

Pub

PUB

Library

LIBRARY

ATM

ATM

Bike Lane

BIKE LANE

Clinic

CLINIC

Commerce

COMMERCE

Pharmacy

PHARMACY

Fuel station

FUEL STATION

Sports facilities

SPORTS FACILITIES

Doctor

DOCTOR

Jumble sale

JUMBLE SALE

Market

MARKET

Picnic area

PICNIC AREA

Playground

PLAYGROUND

Pool / bathing area

POOL / BATHING AREA

Restaurant / cafe

RESTAURANT / CAFE

Public transport

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

People

PEOPLE'S UNIVERSITY

Guided visits

GUIDED VISITS

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FOTOS

A BIT OF HISTORY

Alcázar de San Juan has always been a land of wide and continuous settlement, but its origins date back to prehistory, as attested by the numerous sites found in its municipal district. In addition, the current urban nucleus is based on the remains of a villa from Roman times (s. II - III d. C.), of which numerous archaeological remains are preserved such as the mosaics that decorated its rooms.

Centuries later, it was erected a population in Muslim times that receives the name of Kasar Banú Atiya, which had a small castle or citadel, on which the Knights of the Military Order of the Hospitallers of Jerusalem would later build their own fortified fortress after its definitive settlement from the 13th century. From that moment on, this town will be renamed Alcázar de San Juan.

During the 16th century, Alcázar lived a second era of splendour and population growth, which coincides with the birth of Miguel de Cervantes, of which a baptism certificate (1558) is preserved in the archive of the Parish Church of Santa María.

Later, in 1854, with the arrival of the railway, Alcázar de San Juan became the main communications hub for railways south of Madrid, linked to the west, east and south of Spain, as well as the entire province of Ciudad Real. Currently, you can still make some trips in this medium to reach other towns in the province, while you can discover other new landscapes and reach those peaceful stations that were built in the nineteenth century.

In addition, this town is one of the best examples of architecture of the late nineteenth century and, although we do not arrive by train, it is clear that it is worth a visit through its streets.

DISTRICT

HOLIDAYS AND TRADITIONS

This city has a great number of festivities during the year. Some of these celebrations are declared of Regional Touristic Interest such as the ‘Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos’, which is celebrated in 24th June. Besides, the Carnavalcázar takes part between 25 and 28 of December. It is known as an important celebration because it’s celebrated during Christmas.

As for its traditions, throughout the calendar there are days of joy, meeting and partying with music, sport, culture and gastronomy: for example, from 2 to 8 September the fair is celebrated; on October 7, the festivity in honour of the patron saint of the town, the Virgen del Rosario; on May 15, the feast of San Isidro and its pilgrimage; on January 17, San Antón with bonfires and typical cakes; on 20th of the same month, the San Sebastián procession takes place, and it’s accompanied by rockets and horses.

Likewise, during Holy Week, silence and devotion are combined with art, music, colour, etc. At this time, one of the most renowned processions is that of Jesus of Nazarene, celebrated on the morning of Holy Friday.

Also noteworthy are the numerous gastronomic events, such as the Regional Wine Contest of the Land of Don Quixote in March, the Fair of Flavours in April, Wine and Baptism Cervantino and ‘Jornadas de los Guisos de las Bodas de Camacho’ in November. Apart from this, we find other types of cultural events such as the Puppet Festival in April or the world music festival "7 suns, 7 moons" and the International Folcklore Festival in August.

Feast of the Moors and Christians.

This holiday coincides with the magical night of San Juan. There are parades for children and adults, as well as recreations of medieval times with colour, historical clothing, music, etc.

Also, different activities are organized among which stand out: entry Moorish and Christian, climbing the Tower of Austria, the order of appointment of a Christian knight, the fire of arcabucería, the fight between both sides and the great mascletá of fireworks. At this time, a medieval market is also organized. All this makes us talk about a party declared of Regional Tourist Interest.

CULTURAL HERITAGE

First of all, is important to take in consideration that Alcázar de San Juan is a city that always tries to adapt to new socioeconomical situations while they keep their natural and cultural patrimony (some of these things declared of Cultural Interest). Also, the creative feeling invites the tourist to discover the typical dishes and wines of the city, as well as try the ‘bizcochá de Alcázar’.

Also, the must of Alcázar is a visit around the historical environment of ‘Conjunto Palacial de Los Caballeros de la Orden Militar de San Juan’, made by Torreón del Gran Prior (also known as Don Juan José de Austria), readapted in a museum which is devoted to the incredible history of the ‘Caballeros Hospitalarios’. In front of the Torreón la Capilla del Palacio, we can find the Tourists Reception Centre, from which we can visit the important dig where it is possible to find the roman villa. Besides, the ‘Cubillo’ highlights, that is the remainder of the rampart that was around the ‘Alcázar de los caballeros’. Also, close to this zone, it is possible to see some streets that form the historical neighbourhood of Santa María.

Thirdly, the religious heritage of Alcázar de San Juan is widely represented by the Parish Church of Santa María La Mayor (s. XIII), the oldest in the town. It is in this church where the baptismal font of D. Miguel de Cervantes is kept, the beautiful altarpiece of the high altar and the Rococo dressing room of the Virgin of the Rosary. We also find the late-Gothic Church of the Convent of San Francisco (16th century), which has an impressive and monumental tower.

We could not fail to mention the Parish Church of Santa Quiteria (s. XVI), very interesting work on plans of Juan Herrera, architect of El Escorial, or the Old Monastery of Santa Clara (s.XVI) Renaissance building, declared, as the previous, Well Cultural and adapted to new uses. On the other hand, from the seventeenth century the Church of the Convent of the Holy Trinity is preserved, baroque building with a large stage cover at its main entrance.

Fourth, in Alcázar there are some interesting manor houses from the 16th century, such as the Hidalgo House Museum, and especially from the 19th and early 20th century, with symmetrical facades with balconies and windows with decorative grilles. Also built in the 19th century were the Sagrada Familia School and the magnificent 1854 railway station, which has a canteen decorated with precious ceramic panels declared Cultural Property.

On the other hand, in the hill of San Antón, in the surroundings of the town, which is an extraordinary viewpoint to see the plain of La Mancha, there are four windmills, of which two can be visited: one contains the Manchego Landscape Interpretation Centre and the other with the 16th century machinery ready for periodic grinding.

Also, a few kilometres from Alcázar is the town of agricultural colonization of the middle of the last century, Cinco Casas, of which Azorín speaks in his journey of 1905 to meet the lands of Quijote, and Alameda de Cervera, an interesting and cheerful hamlet.

NATURAL HERITAGE

En el paisaje descubrimos un inmenso horizonte con unos claros cielos de mil tonos anaranjados en los otoños e inviernos, cuando la pámpana de las vides empieza a caer, a dejar a la vista la desnudez del añoso tronco; o nos extasiamos con los luminosos cielos azules salpicados de blancas nubes algodonosas en primavera y verano.

A tan sólo dos kilómetros del centro de la ciudad podremos visitar el Complejo Lagunar de Alcázar de San Juan, declarado Reserva Natural de la Biosfera con un gran valor ecológico. Son tres lagunas estacionales y salinas: La Veguilla, Camino de Villafranca y Las Yeguas; el Centro de Interpretación del Complejo Lagunar situado en la primera laguna, nos muestra sus características y posibilidades.

Son variadas las actividades que se pueden realizar, no obstante, con la inmensidad de especies de aves e insectos que paran por estas aguas, es un disfrute observarlas solos o en familia; después realizar una ruta a pie, en bici o en coche y alguna visita guiada.

Comparte con Campo de Criptana la Laguna de Salicor, endorreica con un altísimo índice de salinidad, lugar para avistamiento de aves y para pasear; siguiendo la Senda de los Cantareros  se encuentran unas losas que presentan unas marcas esgrafiadas, consideradas petroglifos prehistóricos.

Otro de sus áreas de interés es la microreservas Laguna de Los Carros, humedal estacional con características salinas y vegetales halófilas muy específicas.

TOURIST ROUTES

Alcázar de San Juan is part of the following tourist routes:

MUSEUMS

WINERIES

CRAFTWORK

There is a great variety of artisan activities continue to create beautiful objects for use or contemplation. Some of them are: lace and embroiderers, ceramists and stonemasons, taxidermist, restorers or wristbands.

NATURALS PRODUCTS

-D.O.  Vino de La Mancha

-D.O.P. Azafrán de La Mancha

-D.O.P. Queso Manchego

-I.G.P. Cordero Manchego

-I.G.P. Melón de La Mancha

-I.G.P. Pan de Cruz

-M.C. Cebolla de La Mancha

-Tortas de Alcázar: with which the famous and very good biscuit is made. It can be purchased in stores and even visit some of the manufacturing sites.

GASTRONOMY FROM ALCÁZAR DE SAN JUAN

The gastronomy of Alcázar de San Juan is made by the traditional dishes of the La Mancha area: 'gachas', duelos and quebrantos, lamb stew, migas and pisto manchego. Also noteworthy is the lemon salad, which was already prepared many years before. We even have a very typical dessert, the famous biscuit, which is made with Alcazar cakes and milk.

Also, throughout the year, different and renowned festivals and events are organized around gastronomy: Wine Contest of the Land of Quixote "Mil no se equivocan" in March, the Fair of Flavors in April, Wine Days and Baptism Cervantino and the Days of Stews of the Wedding of Camacho in November.

OENOLOGY

The wine is one of its most traditional products and, in addition, it is of very good quality. Alcazar is the heart one of the largests vineyards in the world and that is demonstrated by its tradition, the process of elaboration anchored in the uses and the know-how of time, since the archaeological remains of some old cellars of the sixteenth century that appeared in the ground of the Abastos Market are preserved.

We can visit several current wineries: Bodegas Cinco Casas, Bodegas Viñasoro and the Wine Museum of the Regulatory Council of the D.O.La Mancha.

TRAILS

Through the environment of the Complex Lagunar, you can make two interesting itineraries to enjoy this privileged space of beautiful landscapes and great diversity of birds:

-Ruta La Veguilla. 3,5 km a pie.

-Ruta El camino de Villafranca y las Yeguas. 12 Km a pie y en bicicleta

HUNTING AND FISHING

-Small game: hare, rabbit, partridge, quail.

ACCESS TO ALCÁZAR DE SAN JUAN

-Highway: CM-42; CM-420; CM-400; CM-310; CM-3165; CM-3012; y CM-3107

-Tren:  Renfe con una bella estación.

-AutobúsInter Bus / Herranz / Alsina / Alsa

VOLVER

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