Day trip from La Casa del Rector, charming hotel in Almagro, to the Archaeological Site of Alarcos, Castle of Calatrava la Vieja.
The Archaeological Park of Alarcos and Calatrava has a unique duality, represented by Christian and Muslim cultures, shown in the articulation of the Park around two different sites: Alarcos, symbol of a growing Christian power, and Calatrava, monument of a glorious extinct Islamic power, briefly rejuvenated under the Almohad influence.
Located on the left bank of the Guadiana river and a few kilometers from Ciudad Real, Alarcos was occupied by man since the Bronze Age and experienced two splendorous stages: during the Iberian period and in the Middle Ages.
The archaeological excavations, carried out since 1984, have brought to light part of the Iberian town, the exterior perimeter of the castle and much of the medieval wall, where a mass grave was found, with remains of the battle in 1195 between Muslims and Christians.
After the Almohad occupation, repopulation attempts were in vain, so king Alfonso X founded Villa Real (today Ciudad Real) in 1255, and moved the inhabitants over there. In Alarcos you can still see a hermitage, witness of the former greatness.
Calatrava la Vieja
The ancient Islamic Qal'at Rabah, is one of the most important and best preserved medieval sites of the Iberian peninsula. Located on the banks of the Guadiana River, its history passes between the 13th and 15th centuries. Having played always a primordial role in the Meseta, the Spanish highland plateau, it was an urban enclase of the Caliphate power in the region, the first Templar possession in Castile, founding place of the first Spanish military Order and the northernmost city of the Almohad Empire.
Calatrava la Vieja retains such notable structures as a moat around the walled site, with pentagonal towers, "albarranas" (cisterns) and "corachas" (leather bags) and two angled doors. Within the fortress we'd like to highlight the magnificent triumphal arch access, large banquet facilities, the water tank and the Templar and Calatrava churches. Outside the fortress the remains of a mosque.
Visit in the morning Alarcos and its interpretation center. Make a stop for lunch and then visit Calatrava la Vieja.
For lunch, we recommend Casa Pepe, located on the road between Ciudad Real and Carrión de Calatrava.