Like Toledo, Cuenca is the second town labelled as UNESCO World Heritage site, most notably for its Moorish castle, and many churches. It is a town distinctly separated by old and new. It is believed that the name derives either from the Latin meaning ‘river basin’, due to the gorge of the rivers below or the ancient ruined, Arab castle named Kunka. There are 47,900 inhabitants.
There is proof that there was life in Cuenca during the early Roman period, however there is significantly more evidence of towns during the Muslim period. It was a borderline between Muslims and Christians until the city was overthrown by King Alfonso VIII in 1177 for the Christians alone. Thereafter, this city flourished in terms of culture and to this day, Cuenca displays a fusion of architecture and styles from several periods.
The monuments of Cuenca
Through the many small narrow roads of the medieval town, you will discover the cobbled streets filled with colourful houses, the cathedral in the Plaza Mayor, and you will see the San Pablo Convent separated by a ravine from the old town. It has now been transformed into a hotel and if you take the bridge between the old town and the convent, you will be sure to see the 14th century ‘casas colgadas’ or the literal hanging houses. Head high towards the castle in this ‘Eagle’s nest’ as it is commonly known due to its strategic position, and you will find magnificent sweeping views over the Cuenca mountains.