Castile-La Mancha: a journey into the past
Castile-La Mancha has a multitude of attractions for visitors: its world-class monuments, varied natural landscapes, its festivities, theatre festivals, areas for sport and its traditional arts and crafts.
Recópolis Archaeological Park (Zorita de los Canes)
- Castile-La Mancha
Imagine an original cultural visit. Imagine a place where you can see archaeological remains from the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire and the Bronze Age. Sound interesting? Then don't think twice and come to the Castile-La Mancha Region. Its five archaeological parks will take you on a fascinating journey into the past. Come and feel the centuries of history pass before your eyes.
Come and take a trip in the Region of Castile-La Mancha, south of Madrid. Here you will find five, well signed archaeological parks located at different points around the Region. This is a great way to discover the beautiful landscapes to be found in the area, and to learn about the societies that have left their mark here over the ages. Come and feel like an archaeologist. Let's go:
Carranque Archaeological Park
You can start your route in the province of Toledo, in the Carranque region. Its Archaeological Park is set on both sides of the Guadarrama River. Let your imagination run free and see what day-to-day life was like in the Roman Empire. Thanks to the site's excellent conservation, you can see the splendour of buildings such as the "Ninfeo" temple, its ensemble of mills or the "Villa de Materno", a mansion with a spectacular collection of mosaics. There is also the "Basilica" with its stunning marble columns, luxurious homes with heating and running water… Come and see the legacy of our ancestors.
Recópolis Archaeological Park
Would you like to travel back to the Middle Ages? Then continue your journey in the province of Guadalajara, to Zorita de los Canes, 130 kilometres from Carranque. An exceptional town awaits you at this archaeological site. Take an enjoyable stroll to discover Zorita de los Canes Castle, the aqueduct and the quarry, once used by the Visigoths, amongst other peoples.
Segóbriga Archaeological Park
60 kilometres from Zorita de los Canes, in Saélices (Cuenca province) you can find one of the Europe's most significant archaeological sites. Get ready to travel centuries back in time because it dates to the Iron Age. The most amazing thing, however, are its Roman ruins. Would you like to stroll around a theatre and amphitheatre from the time of Augustus or some 1st-century thermal baths? This is the perfect place to travel back to the times of emperors.
El Tolmo de Minateda Archaeological Park
Next stop: Hellín, in the province of Albacete, just over 200 kilometres from Saélices. Here you will find the peak that is home to the park. It will show you the mark of bygone ages on a fascinating adventure. This was the setting for settlements from the Bronze Age through to the 10th century, along with defensive walls and systems. Also well worth seeing are the Roman and Moorish burial sites and the remains of its three-nave Visigoth basilica.
Alarcos-Calatrava Archaeological Park
The journey ends in Ciudad Real province, 280 kilometres from Hellín. Enjoy a pleasant day at its 33-hectare site with remains from the Bronze Age, Iberian and medieval periods. You will feel like a real knight errant when you cross the thick defensive wall and discover its medieval ruins, the scene of a historic battle between Moors and Christians. Furthermore, in this park you can also visit the castle of the Moorish town of Calatrava la Vieja, close to Tablas de Daimiel National Park. Get more information at the tourist office in the town.
These parks have borne witness to peoples with a glorious history - now it is your turn to discover them. Coins, furniture and tools are just a few of the objects discovered at these sites. Many of them can be seen at each Park's visitor centre. With reconstructions and audiovisual presentations you can find out exactly what each of these settlements was like. Guided tours are available too (also in English), along with archaeology workshops, rest areas, shops and cultural events such as the Alarcos Medieval Music Festival (in July) and the Segóbriga European Youth Festival of Greco-Latin Theatre (in April).
The best time to visit is in spring or autumn, when temperatures are the most pleasant, and remember if you are coming as a group it is best to book your visit in advance. Get your most comfortable shoes on and enjoy an unforgettable journey, packed with history and art.
If you liked this article, you will find more information at: Carranque: Roman splendour in Spain