Following Don Quixote’ Steps: Belmonte, El Toboso and Consuegra.
You will get to know places that seduced Cervantes, leading him to write his famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha.
During this tour through the lands of La Mancha visitors will be able to visit the Castle of Belmonte and enjoy with the same views that inspired the famous writer.
On the way to El Toboso you will enjoy the typical La Mancha countryside: oaks, vines (the largest vineyard in the world) and cereal crops... always crowned by the magnificent "Gigantes" (Windmills) that frightened the famous Don Quixote. Finally, the route is complemented witn the visit to the Village and Castle of Consuegra, which offer the purest landscapes and routes of the La Mancha and Castilla exoticism.
Know castles and palaces in this route
The Marquis of Villena, Don Juan Pacheco, ordered it built in Mudejar Gothic style in 1456. He was trusted man of King Henry IV of Castile, and the most powerful lord in the kingdom at the time.
The star-shaped layout of the castle is one-of-a-kind, and its palatial interior decorated with luxurious Mudejar roofs in the halls and galleries, as well as the "medieval bestiary" sculpted in stone, are nonpareil in Spain. All this undeniably makes for one of the most emblematic castles in our country.
The castle has been perfectly preserved thanks to the efforts of its owners over the centuries, completed with the latest restoration. On this occasion, the Ducal House of Peñaranda and Montijo, descendants of the Marquis of Villena and owners of the Castle, have been supported by public institutions.
The Castle of Belmonte reopened its doors to the public in July 2010, offering the visitor a cultural tour throughout the history of this emblematic monument, all the way from the 15th century to the present. The cultural tour provides an audio guide in 4 languages (Spanish, English, French and Italian), an audio-visual room with a large-screen 12-minute projection as an introduction to the tour, and light and sound technology that make visitors travel to a different time.
Moreover, since August 2018, the largest historic-thematic park with real-scale siege machines in the world, Trebuchet Park, has been located at the foot of the fortress.
Throughout the tour, visitors can observe 40 siege machines in four different thematic areas: the Christian world, the Muslim world, the Eastern world and the Renaissance. Regarding the timeline, the artefacts in the first three spaces are from the 5th and 14th centuries, and the Renaissance area set in the 15th–16th century.
All of the machines have been tested and they work just as they did at the time, reconstructed with the same period materials. Historically rigorous, they used available documentation (miniatures, engravings, period texts, iconographic depictions and archaeological remains)
- Download the Audioguide App from your mobile device by clicking the following icon and do not forget to bring your own headphones
The fortress began to be built in the middle of the 9th century during the splendour period of the caliphate of Cordoba, its construction being completed in the middle of 13th century by the knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, over 350 years of uninterrupted construction and since then three different castles can be visited in a single building.
The order made it the capital of an extensive priory. The cession of the castle and its alfóz was made in 1183 by Alfonso VIII to the knights, although the fortress had been already reconquered by Alfonso VI, exactly one hundred year before, being the place of constant war, it was lost going from Christians to Muslims repeatedly so that finally moving to the kingdom of Castile.
The enlargements and reforms of the castle continued throughout the centuries to adapt gradually to the uses and customs of each era, providing it with a archive, chapel, chapterhouse, water cisterns, powerful defenses (it was necessary to break 7 doors to access to the central core of the strength and the average thickness of its walls is 4.5 meters and the height of its towers of 30 meters, which together with its strategic position, gave it an impregnable aspect).
Its last extension was made in the XVII century with the intention of housing a new hermitage. The fortress remained inhabited until the beginning of the 19th century. In the year 1813 the building was blown up by Napoleon's troops and left in ruins. In 1837 Mendizábal expropriate the castle to be finally acquired by the City Council in 1962.
It is currently in the rehabilitation phase having recovered 50% of the castle. Today it is possible to visit two of three water cisterns, gallery, archives shed, hermitage, chapterhouse, albarrana tower, terraces, garden, barbican and the steps of the round, being used for theatrical performances and cultural events.