When we were seven years old, and we drew castles on top of huge rocks, we didn’t know that, in fact, what we were drawing was the fortress of Frías. Come to the village, and you will see it, perched on a rock dominating the region as only a medieval castle can do it.
The place was not chosen at random, of course. Thousands of years ago our ancestors realised that this was a good place to cross the river, and the Romans, who didn’t do anything for nothing, built a bridge here so that one of their roads connected the plateau with the Bay of Biscay.
The bridge is still there, although it has been rebuilt many times, and in the Middle Ages, they added a tower in the middle to collect the toll for crossing it. If the castle wasn’t so spectacular, the emblem of the city would surely be this one.
From its looks, you have already guessed that Frías has a medieval origin, and as a strategic place, it was part of several lordships that coveted it. In the fifteenth century, it was even involved in the exchange of cards that King Juan II of Castile proposed to the Count of Haro, Pedro Fernández de Velasco. He said to him: I give you Frías if you give me Peñafiel. No sooner said than done. But it happened that the locals did not like the new and excessive taxes, nor to lose the privileges that the king had previously granted them, so they set up a war against the Count. A fact that even today it is still remembered every year on the Sunday closest to June the 24th, in the commemorative and unusual Fiesta del Capitán.
Once the crowd had calmed down, Fernandez de Velasco improved the fortifications of his new possession. Even though it already had a wall from the thirteenth century, and of course, the castle that since ancient times crowned the massive rock of La Muela.
You cannot miss, by any means, a visit to that fortress. A drawbridge dug into the rock, battlements, arrow slits, loopholes, and a keep tower that is saying, take a picture of me right now! But of course, no matter how impressive the castle is, you can’t miss either the Church of San Vicente, the Convent of Vadillo and, above all, the very peculiar houses built on the very edge of the abyss of La Muela.
They were made of tuff and wood, they have several floors, and they are stuck together to take advantage of the limited space in the upper part of the city. The result is a fantastic picture of houses overlooking the cliff in such a way that they seem to be part of it. And you’re not in Cuenca, no.