Today we return to Castilla La Mancha to discover one of the villages that I had not included in my to-do list, but thanks to the La Manchuela Wine Route We were able to find out. On Saturday morning we made a visit to the town of Iniesta, better known for the footballer than for being a town of La Manchuela. Luckily after the visit we can clearly say that if you want to visit this region do not miss the opportunity to meet Iniesta.
How to get to Iniesta
To get to Iniesta we must take the A-3 motorway, until the detour that takes us to the town itself and to Graja de Iniesta on the CM-311 road.
What to see in Iniesta
A bit of history
During the last decades, numerous archaeological remains from different periods have been found throughout its municipal area, the oldest being the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. In 1995 the first scientific excavation was carried out unearthing an Iberian necropolis known as Punta del Barrionuevo, because it is located at the end of the street with this name. Subsequently, another Iberian necropolis was excavated where one of the oldest painted stone mosaics on the peninsula appeared.
From Roman times have been found several stelae, votive aras, remains of Roman villas, coins, etc., which place Iniesta as the ancient Egelasta, a thriving Roman villa in the sale of salt thanks to the large number of mines that existed in the area.
With the Arabs it became an important border area with Alarcón which forced to build a castle. After the reconquest in 1186, Alfonso VIII granted him a series of privileges, but it was Alfonso X the Wise who granted him the same jurisdiction as Cuenca.
After his support to the Beltraneja, the Catholic Monarchs ordered their castle to be demolished, which is the beginning of the gradual dismantling of their fortress. Due to its economic importance, during the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Iniesta contributes to the maintenance of the Brotherhood of the Marquesado de Villena as one of the most important towns, being the third to vote in the Juntas del Marquesado, after Villena and Chinchilla. The War of the Communities brought Bishop Acuña himself to Iniesta in order to recruit people to fight against the king. During the reign of Philip II, according to the Topographical Relations, Iniesta was considered one of the most influential towns in the region.
The seventeenth century stands out for the great urban development with the construction of important palace-houses in the Villa. The continuous wars and the general policy of the country marked a very pronounced historical decline in Iniesta until the twentieth century, that the industrial revolution in agriculture motivated a generalized takeoff that was only truncated by the Civil War and the post-war period. Then came years of emigration to the big cities, mainly Valencia and Barcelona.
Visit to Iniesta
Once in Iniesta it is best to go to the Tourist Office located next to the Main Square, where Javier Cuellar, tourist guide of the town and great connoisseur of the town, will make us a route through the most emblematic corners of the town.
Our first stop starts from the Tourist Office itself located in a turret. The only Hispano-Muslim vestige of the town, dating from the eleventh century, and which served as access in the form of a double defensive cross door to the old medieval castle.
We continue crossing the great arch located next to the tower, to ascend to the highest part of Iniesta, where we find a balcony with a view to the cooperative and the lands surrounding the population.
Next to the viewpoint is the Bullring (XIX century), whose curiosity lies in the fact that it is excavated in the ground, and that under the laying of a part of the stands are preserved several cave houses used until a few decades ago.
We undid everything The road to the Town hall (XV century). This two-storey building with arcades, on its façade we can see two columns with heraldic shields. On the north wall of the upper floor we find a mural made with grisaille which represents a crucified Christ, and which was discovered by chance during restoration work by removing the layer of cement from the wall. By the shield drawn on one side we can place the mural in the 60 years (from 1580 to 1640) in which Portugal belonged to the Spanish crown.
We continue to the Church of the Assumption, located very close to the Town Hall. We could not access it as it was closed, since it only opens during worship hours. If we knew like so many other temples in the region that their images and altarpieces were burned during the Civil War, and everything that had value they sent to Cuenca to pay for the war. Curiously there was only one thing that was not sent, which was a silver monstrance, which today is still taken out during the procession of Corpus Christi.
Continuing through the streets of Iniesta we could see some of the oldest houses in the town. Among them we find in Rato Street, one of 1557 belonging to the Cantero family, which preserves the lintel door, the noble shield and the balcony.
On Valencia Street is the House of the Espinosa, which was the House-Barracks of the Civil Guard and stands out for its balcony and noble coat of arms. Another is the House of the Guzmanes with its façade with two columns, its seventeenth-century door and the Castilian grille with floral decoration.
Finally we arrived at the Hermitage of the Conception (sixteenth century), already desacralized and that had different uses until the present as Archaeological Museum. In this space dedicated to Iberian art, we find funerary pieces, coins and trousseau with which different Iberian families from nearby sites such as Punta del Barrionuevo, Cerro Gil or Monegrillo were buried.
The time did not give for more, but they recommended us for the next visit to approach the Sanctuary of Consolation, located on the outskirts of the village in a beautiful natural setting. And that every year there is a pilgrimage in which the Virgin is transferred to the sanctuary on Pentecost Sunday, and that is declared as Festival of Regional Tourist Interest.
Tourism of La Manchuela: Iniesta
Where to sleep
Next to the access road to the town, very close to the Cooperative is the Hostal los Girasoles (C / Era Pareja, 3), a rural hostel with charming rooms and a beautiful interior garden to relax and cool off from the summer heat.
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