Guadalajara situated north east of Madrid is a province with a lengthy history. Its name meaning ‘Stony River’ comes from when the city was under Arab rule. Nearly 40% of the population of the province live in Guadalajara, totalling around 70,000.
Dating back to the Roman rule, this city was called Arriaca. Guadalajara took off in the 15th century when the lordship advanced the city culturally. During the Renaissance came the Mendoza family who played an important part in the future of this city in terms of both the economy and the urban progression. Due to the efforts made by the Mendoza family, Guadalajara was granted its ‘city’ status in 1460. Following the War of the Spanish Succession, Guadalajara hit a downhill struggle. The city was destroyed in 1808 during the Spanish War of Independence by the French Army. Guadalajara didn’t start to recover until 1840 when the Academy of Military Engineering came to oversee the reconstruction of the city. It was a slow process, focusing mainly on the administration side. Guadalajara suffered once more during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) but started to show prospect in industrial development, to relieve the pressure on Madrid. It is now one of the most important cities in Spain for urban development. To this day it has many points of interest, like other cities in Castile La Mancha, a blend of architecture from several periods.
The monuments of Guadalajara
Museo Provincial de Guadalajara houses an exquisite collection of archaeology, fine art and ethnography. On a site of an old mosque, is the Renaissance church/cathedral de Santa Maria la mayor (or de la Fuente). This interesting construction was updated in the 17th century was constructed in a Mujedar style. The real emblem of Guadalajara is the Palacio del Infantado, said to be the most important building in the city. It was commissioned by Iñigo de Mendoza, the second duke from the Mendoza family and the building started in 1480. The style is Isabelline but has a Renaissance façade.