24.3.12

Babylon in Spain

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are rediscovered in Spain!!! Well, not quite...but close.
The town of Cuenca has a large number of churches, convents and monasteries but what most people will remember are the three "hanging houses" of Cuenca - "Casas Colgadas". Dating back to the 15th Century, they are perched dramatically overlooking the canyon formed by the Huécar River, as you may appreciate in the slideshow that follows. Two of the houses are occupied by the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art founded in 1966 by the Spanish painter Fernando Zóbel and now run by the Fundación March.
But Cuenca has another surprise in store for us, in the form of an "enchanted city" - the Ciudad Encantada, about 36 Kms north of the town. Nature has chosen this site to be capricious and centuries of exposure to the elements have resulted in rocks taking on various distinguishable shapes (an elephant, a dog, bears, etc).
Cuenca is fairly close to Madrid (169 Kms) and, thus, a couple of hours drive or just under an hour if you take the high speed train (AVE). If you decide to stay overnight, the town has a Parador, just opposite the "hanging houses". Another good option is the Hotel Cueva del Fraile, just outside Cuenca.


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