Alcázar y judería

In 1177 Castilian King Alfonso VIII conquered Cuenca and forced the Muslims, who had inhabited the city for the previous 466 years, to up roots. It was then that the Arabs moved into Mangana Square, the Jews installed themselves in Zapaterías Street and the remainder of the city was occupied by Christians divided into various parishes. The Main Square and cathedral was to stand in the same place once occupied by the ancient Arab castle. The king ordered the construction of a new temple and went in search of the finest French architect of the day to take charge of the design of what would become the earliest example of Gothic style in Spain. The big surprise is inside which features over 40 chapels, altars and facades. It presides over the Main Square flanked by the Town Hall which was ereceted during the reign of Charles III and also the Las Petras Convent. The Diocesan Museum contains many valuable pieces which come from the cathedral, one of the most comprehensive collections of Spanish religious art and was fortunate enough to have been designed and arranged by prominent artist, Gustavo Torner. (imagen de la sala 1) But perhaps the most recognizable image of the city is in Ronda Square which feature Cuenca’s famous “skyscrapers” – staggered structures built into the rock right on the edge of the ravine and which vary in height such as these examples in Alfonso VIII Street. To get a glimpse of how the city once functioned, look no further than Mangana Square, this open space once was the Arab neighbourhood then later, the Jewish quarter and last but not least, the Christian neighbourhood of Saint María (vista de la plaza y de las vistas al barrio de San Antón y Tiradores). Today, Merced Square – tucked away at the top of a hill, is one of the most beautiful corners of the city, here we are treated to the San Julián Seminary, the convent of the Slaves of the Holy Sacrament (fachada), known locally as the Whites and the Pensioners Home, now a Science Museum, one of the most attractive and interesting, which transports us to a city of the present day and, of the future.