Route of the Palaces and Castles in the Henares Valley

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Along the Henares valley, bordering the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara, there are a series of towns that have a great architectural and artistic heritage, in which there are monuments with styles ranging from Romanesque to Renaissance, and among which palaces stand out. and castles. ADEL Sierra Norte discloses its heritage jewels

This route runs alongside the Henares riverbed from its source in the municipality of Sigüenza, passing through picturesque towns such as Peregrina, La Cabrera, Mandayona, Bujalaro, Jadraque, Cogolludo or Arbancón, until it reaches Beleña de Sorbe.

Starting the tour from the closest municipality to the capital of the province, Guadalajara, is Beleña de Sorbe. Built on a large slope on rocks that overlook the Sorbe River, Beleña has preserved from medieval times vestiges of its old castle, its Romanesque church and the Andalusian bridge. Its position, between the Sierra de Ayllón and the Campiña, gave it great strategic importance in its day.

Just ten kilometers away, located at the head of a stream that runs down from the Sierra al Henares, is Cogolludo, a municipality whose origin dates back to prehistory, as shown by the important remains of a Bronze Age city located in the Loma del Lomo. The main attraction of the town of Cogolludo is its magnificent Renaissance-style palatial room, with a patio decorated in a Plateresque style and a padded façade, following the list of Italian models.

On the way to Arbancón, a town that is a clear example of popular mountain architecture and where its church and the Plaza de los Cuatro Caños stand out, you will discover the ruins of the Castle of Cogolludo, a medieval fortification with a pentagonal plan, which allows you to glimpse how the villages grew under the protection of castles.

Continuing up the river, Jadraque appears, a town of Roman origin, of which legend has it that, in 1085 it was reconquered by the Cid Campeador himself, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, and that it came to belong to the Mendoza family when, at the end of the 15th century, Cardinal Pedro González became the owner of both the Villa and the Castle. In the Casa-Palacio de los Arias Saavedra spent a season in 1808, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, who personally decorated one of the rooms of the palace. Today, it can be admired restored. The parish church is a grandiose building with a Renaissance and Mannerist structure, in which its great tower, the doorway and a Baroque altar stand out, as well as the magnificent painting by Zurbarán, Christ collecting his clothes, painted in 1661. Dominating the town stands its great castle located, according to Ortega y Gasset, on the most perfect hill in the world.

From Jadraque they head towards Sigüenza, continuing through the Alto Henares Valley, and crossing Bujalaro, where the old Roman road passed and later the royal road to Aragon. The church in this small town has a magnificent Plateresque façade.

Continuing on the road, you will find Villaseca de Henares, located on a hill overlooking the valley of the Dulce River, very close to its mouth in the Henares and which has a Romanesque parish church at the top of the town. Inside, the coffered ceiling stands out and, outside, on its south wall, the portal decorated with cord and diamond points.

Continuing the route, you will arrive at Mandayona, through which the same Roman road passed, and where the Río Dulce interpretation center is located. Within the Natural Park of the Barranco del Río Dulce, there are La Cabrera and Pelegrina. In the first, the Romanesque parish church and the mill where the paper for banknotes was made in the time of Alfonso XIII stand out. In the second, its castle, currently in ruins, which dominated the Dulce river valley, a place strongly linked to Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente. Some of the most impressive images of his series “The man and the earth” were shot there.

At the end of the route Segontia rises, “the one that dominates the valley”, currently known as Sigüenza. Declared a historical-artistic complex, due to its fabulous architectural heritage, in 1965, it is one of the medieval cities that keeps the image of the old Spanish cities with the greatest purity. Its general appearance, and the detail of its streets, squares and monuments, faithfully preserved, make it appear in the reduced catalog of the most beautiful urban complexes in Europe. In her highlights the Castle, old Arab fortress and later residence of bishops, current parador de turismo, and its fortress Cathedral, begun in Romanesque style and finished following the lines of the Gothic, has an interior of great ornamental wealth and contains unique jewels such as the altarpiece of Santa Librada, the sacristy of the Heads or the chapel of San Juan and Santa Catalina, in which is the funerary sculpture of Martín Vázquez de Arce, El Doncel de Sigüenza. Also noteworthy, in what is known as Ciudad del Doncel, the Plaza Mayor, the Casa del Doncel or the Palacio de Infantes, among others of the many monuments that the mitrada city still conserves, seat of the bishopric of Sigüenza – Guadalajara since it was reconquered by Bernardo de Agén in 1124. ADEL Sierra Norte publishes its heritage jewels.

Source: Agencies / Press releases / Javier Bravo

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