July 26 2021

Manzanares El Real: visit a dream castle (and live your own fairy tale)

The castle of Manzanares el Real reminds us of the enchanted princess tales of our childhood. It is the best preserved of our Community, fully musealized. To visit it is to take a trip to the medieval and Renaissance world. Once you are there, visit La Pedriza and you will live your own fairy tale for a day.

Castillo Nuevo or Castillo de los Mendoza is the best preserved of the Community of Madrid. Enjoy its natural environment walking or cycling and discover its climbing areas.  From here you can reach La Pedriza del Manzanares.

It is the perfect opportunity for cultural tourism, and to know the interesting heritage of the Community of Madrid, but also to discover the nature of a region like this, and enjoy the best routes of the increasingly popular active tourism.

In Manzanares El Real there is no shortage of artistic and cultural heritage. Castillo Nuevo or Castillo de los Mendoza is the main representative and the best preserved castle in the Community of Madrid. It was built in 1475 and is square in shape, consisting of three circular towers and one octagonal tower. The castle also has an arcaded courtyard, an interpretation center, audiovisual and exhibition rooms, a library and various rooms furnished in the style of the seventeenth century.

 

Other heritage examples of Manzanares, besides the Old Castle are: the Church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves -presents a mixture of architectural styles, with the Romanesque nave, the sacristy is covered with Gothic ribbing and the portico is purist Renaissance-; the Cave Paintings of Los Aljibes -from the Bronze Age and representing 28 anthropomorphic figures in movement-; the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Peña Sacra -from the 16th century and related to Druid and Celtic cults-, and the Old Bridge -from the 16th century-.

 

The Castle of Manzanares El Real occupies a strategic position dominating the Cañada Real Segoviana, which was used by the Mesta to move cattle seasonally through Spain between the thirteenth and nineteenth centuries. The whole building is enhanced by the robust defensive wall and the promenade. A large gate flanked by turrets leads to the interior after crossing the old moat, now clogged.

The hall, or entrance to the main building, served as the first defense and organization of the interior. In the parade ground, presided over by the noble coat of arms of the Mendoza family, two beautiful arcaded galleries with columns and balustrades of late Gothic style, introduce us to the palatial area. A second hallway leads us to the interior where the collection of tapestries and some paintings of the Virgin and still lifes are exhibited. Going up the staircase we find the great halls where the daily life of the lords took place.

In the Santillana Room we find a copy of the portrait of the Marquis of Santillana, Don Íñigo, included in the Altarpiece of the Gozos de Santa María, a work by Jorge Inglés, which can be seen in the Prado Museum. The 17th century painting Procesión de la Virgen de la Candelaria, which depicts the old Hospital de Atocha in Madrid, now disappeared, can also be seen.

In the Hall of the Infantado, we find more images of historical figures related to the Castle: a copy of the portraits of the Constable of Castile, Don Alvaro de Luna, and his wife Juana Pimentel.

The Estrado de Damas is a recreation of the social gathering room of Spanish women until the 18th century, set in the aesthetics of Andalusian palaces. Among mats, carpets and cushions, the ladies and their ladies spent their days embroidering, playing instruments or reading, surrounded by the trunks where they kept their clothes and trousseaus, the primitive closets.

On the heights, the Juan Guas viewpoint welcomes us to contemplate the calm waters of the Santillana reservoir. From the parapet we can also see the private chapel and what must have been two floors of large rooms with large windows. Above the reused apse, a large keep was projected. This part of the castle was never completed. In the southwest tower there are still remains of the original decoration of granite balls, probably polychrome. The tour of the castle culminates with the descent down the spiral staircase, which will return us to the parade ground.

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