Throughout history, it is curious to see how the cruel medieval conflicts between Moors and Christians gave rise to several of the most beautiful towns in the Spanish geography. This is the case of Alcalá del Júcar, a mountain village, where you will use several gigabytes of your camera without even realising it.
It turns out that the Arabs settled here and built a fortress on a hill so no one would take it away. But the Muslim rule ended in the thirteenth century, leaving us among other memories this magnificent castle that you can see the moment you arrive in the village, and which after the reconquest was also used by the Christians. They also had the idea of setting up a fortification taking advantage of an enormous natural hollow in the rock. In this case, it is the Cave of Garadén, which after years of erosion and landslides is still an impressive site.
However, what they call Cuevas del Diablo, Devil’s Caves, are probably more popular. Much more recent, and expanded by its current owner, they are a thriving tourist attraction. It is worth taking a walk along its long corridors and admiring the breathtaking views over the river.
But if what you like is monuments, do not worry, there is something for everyone. In addition to visiting the castle, you can go to the beautiful Hermitage of San Lorenzo and the Church of San Andrés. Do not miss the Roman Bridge, which is not Roman but it’s very photogenic and the peculiar bullring of Alcalá, a small architectural jewel due to its irregular shape, its grandstand carved into the rocks and its disturbing appearance of a stage for gladiators.
And let’s not forget nature, because the beautiful landscape of the Hoz del Júcar also has something to say about the town’s fame. It is another of the attractions of a place that has not yet been declared a historical-artistic set, but it must not be far from it.
If you are thinking that among so many wonders the only thing missing is a legend, we have good news. There is one, and it has to do with the castle and with a princess named Zulema. In one of the versions, the Christian Zulema throws herself from the tower so as not to become the wife of the Moor Garadén. In another version, the princess is Muslim and runs away from her father’s fortress to meet a Christian man she is in love with.
Where there is a medieval castle and a couple of lovers, strange stories come out … whether they are Moors, Christians or Martians.