Typical landscapes of La Mancha in Spain: windmills and castles

Dec 15, 2021
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La Mancha is a natural and historical region, located in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha, in central Spain, forming part of the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo.
The origin of the toponym La Mancha is unknown, although several sources affirm its Arabic origin. It is assumed that the toponym "Mancha" in Arabic would be pronounced as Manxa or Al-mansha, which translates as "land without water" or "dry". We also find another way of calling it as Manya, which translates as "elevated land". From which we can derive the current meaning of La Mancha as "high land" due to the plateau, with large plains and without water or dry, looking like this from the satellites: a large dry spot in the center of the map of Spain.
Miguel de Cervantes chose La Mancha as the natural setting for what would become the most important work of Universal Literature. In his imagination, the Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha traveled through the villages of La Mancha, facing a thousand and one adventures.
The best known architectural image of La Mancha is its windmills, located in high areas to harness the power of the wind. These windmills, such as those in Campo de Criptana (Ciudad Real), Consuegra (Toledo) or Mota del Cuervo (Cuenca), are a testimony to the importance of grain and flour in the history and economy of the region.
Castles are also a distinctive feature of the Castilla-La Mancha region. Many of the region's towns and villages have castles and fortresses that date back to medieval times, when the region was a place of great strategic importance. Some of the most prominent are the Castillo de Belmonte, the Castillo de Calatrava la Nueva and the Castillo de Almansa.
But the region of Castilla-La Mancha is much more than castles and windmills. It has a variety of terrains, from wide plains to mountains, rivers and valleys. In the plains you can find large fields of cereals, olive trees and vineyards, which are characteristic of the region and give it its fame as a producer of excellent wines.
In the north of Castilla-La Mancha is the Sierra de Cuenca, an impressive mountain range with heights of over 2,000 meters and a paradise for hiking and nature lovers. In the southeast, the Sierra de Alcaraz and Sierra de Segura offer breathtaking views and numerous opportunities for outdoor activities.
The region also has numerous rivers, such as the Tajo, Guadiana and Júcar, which meander through the region, creating beautiful valleys and canyons. In addition, there are several natural parks and reserves that protect the native flora and fauna, such as the Tablas de Daimiel National Park and the Barranco del Río Dulce Natural Park.
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