01-jun-11-012

SPAIN: Cuenca (Casas Colgadas/Hanging Houses)

The city of Cuenca is located in central Spain, about 90 miles east of Madrid. Visitors from all over the world come here to see the famous Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses) which hang precariously on the edge of the cliff above the Huecar River gorge. The origin of the houses remains unclear, some attribute them to the Muslims while others claim they are Medieval in foundation. These houses date back to sometime between the 13th – 15th centuries and were quite common in the area at the time. Today, only three hanging houses remain: La Casa de la Sirena (House of the Mermaid) and the two Casas de Rey (Houses of Kings) which were renovated sometime in the 20th century. These casas house the Museum of Abstract Arts and a restaurant and serve as the backdrop for millions of photos taken from the San Pablo bridge.

01-jun-11-012

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Opened in 1966, The Museum of Abstract Arts is said to have one of Spain’s best abstract art collections including works by artists, Antoni Tàpies, Antonio Saura, Eduardo Chillida and Pablo Serrano. Admission to the museum is 3€ for adults and reduced rates are available for seniors and students with an I.D. Children under 10 years of age are admitted free.

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The Museum of Abstract Arts

There is a lot to see in the city of Cuenca which is bordered on three sides by the gorges of the rivers Huecar and Jucar. Take a walk in the city center, Plaza Major located in the old quarter, Ciudad Antigua. The Plaza houses a Gothic cathedral which purports to be the first ever built in Spain. There is a museum attached to the cathedral which contains painting by El Greco. Climb the Mangana Tower considered to be the remains of an Arab fortress to get marvelous views of the city below.

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Mangana Tower in the distance

 

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Just to the north of the city, you will find the Solán de Cabras Thermal Spa Resort, known for its medicinal spring waters and well worth exploring with its abundance of beautiful landscapes and waterfalls.

A visit to the city of Cuenca makes for an excellent day trip from Madrid. You can take the high-speed AVE train from Madrid, which takes approximately 45 minutes. There are also buses operated by the Avanza bus company which depart from the Mendez Alvaro bus station and take about 2 hours to reach Cuenca.

Museum of Abstract Arts Web page: http://www.march.es/arte/cuenca/?l=2

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