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Difference between revisions of "Cuenca (Spain)"

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=Understand=
 
=Understand=
It is situated between [[Madrid]] and [[Valencia]], in the third least populated region in [[Europe]], and the town itself is a world heritage site - it is an outstanding example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain.
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It is situated between [[Madrid]] and [[Valencia]], in the third least populated region in [[Europe]], and the town itself is a world heritage site - the old town is an outstanding example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain. The many "casas colgadas" ("hanging houses") are built right up to the cliff edge, making Cuenca one of the most striking towns in Spain, a gem in the otherwise largely bland province of Castilla-La Mancha.
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Cuenca is easily reached by train. It's on the main line from Madrid to Valencia. It's a popular weekend trip for Madrileños, so hotels are often less crowded during the week.
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One of the more surprising features for such an isolated town is the moderately sized but excellent Museum of Spanish Abstract Art. Cuenca was the longtime home of artist and photographer Fernando Zóbel, and he chose it as the location for the museum, located in two converted centuries-old "casas colgadas". Many of the pictures hang in glorious isolation with an entire wall for a single picture, and a few windows provide imposing views out over the gorge. The museum comes far closer than most to providing the experience of seeing abstract paintings in the context of a setting of simple elegance.
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Because of the museum and because the town is a popular place for visitors from Madrid, Cuenca has a fine collection of small art galleries. There is also a good archeological museum, dedicated largely to Roman finds in the area. The Cathedral, whose façade is unfortunately marred by a nineteenth century attempt at remodeling, has a beautiful gothic interior with very detailed (and in some cases seemingly pagan) carvings. There is a near-absolute ban on photography, or even sketching, inside the cathedral, except by obtaining explicit permission, typically granted only on the basis of a portfolio.
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Most of the best restaurants are down below in the newer part of town, which is far less picturesque.

Revision as of 07:31, 9 January 2004

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Know

Cuenca is a beautiful region of Spain, with crystal clear rivers cutting through limestone gorges.

Understand

It is situated between Madrid and Valencia, in the third least populated region in Europe, and the town itself is a world heritage site - the old town is an outstanding example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain. The many "casas colgadas" ("hanging houses") are built right up to the cliff edge, making Cuenca one of the most striking towns in Spain, a gem in the otherwise largely bland province of Castilla-La Mancha.

Cuenca is easily reached by train. It's on the main line from Madrid to Valencia. It's a popular weekend trip for Madrileños, so hotels are often less crowded during the week.

One of the more surprising features for such an isolated town is the moderately sized but excellent Museum of Spanish Abstract Art. Cuenca was the longtime home of artist and photographer Fernando Zóbel, and he chose it as the location for the museum, located in two converted centuries-old "casas colgadas". Many of the pictures hang in glorious isolation with an entire wall for a single picture, and a few windows provide imposing views out over the gorge. The museum comes far closer than most to providing the experience of seeing abstract paintings in the context of a setting of simple elegance.

Because of the museum and because the town is a popular place for visitors from Madrid, Cuenca has a fine collection of small art galleries. There is also a good archeological museum, dedicated largely to Roman finds in the area. The Cathedral, whose façade is unfortunately marred by a nineteenth century attempt at remodeling, has a beautiful gothic interior with very detailed (and in some cases seemingly pagan) carvings. There is a near-absolute ban on photography, or even sketching, inside the cathedral, except by obtaining explicit permission, typically granted only on the basis of a portfolio.

Most of the best restaurants are down below in the newer part of town, which is far less picturesque.

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