If houses had fingertips the famous hanging houses (Las Casas Colgados) at Cuenca would be they. The houses are the only buildings left standing of the type which would have been common in the city many years ago. built above the Huecar river gorge.
The lack of space on this rock face has resulted in the unusual development of vernacular architect with exceptional views. The old part of the city is hemmed in on three sides by a deep gorge. Along the edge of the steep high walls of the gorge the houses hang precariously over the edge.
Some time ago I went on a three day trip primarily to visit Cuenca, Spain, which is located 140 kilometres, approximately 87 miles, south east of Madrid, especially to see the hanging houses. The city was built by the Moors as a fortified city and conquered by the Castillians in the 12 century
Now, the hanging houses have been converted into a restaurant and contain the Museum of Abstract Arts. The houses must have been captured in millions of photographs and painted numerous times. I visited the museum’s gift shop and stood
on the balcony and enjoyed a view of the gorge and looked down at the spectacular turquoise colour of the River Huecar.
I also went around the 12th century cathedral, which is the first Gothic cathedral in Spain located in the Plaza Mayor, and the ruins of the castle, and walked around the walls and took in the breathtaking panoramic views until they disappeared into the horizon.
I visited the Enchanted City (Ciudad Encantada) near Cuenca, famous for its rock formations, sculpted over the centuries by wind, water and ice. I was amazed that many of the ‘sculptures’ resembled humans and animals.
The area around Ciudad Encantada is magical. The vegetation, which seems to grow out of rocks, included Juniper trees, and there was the distinct scent of rosemary and tyme. Flocks of sheep graze in the surrounding area, and travelling back to our quaint hotel, with its huge stone fireplaces, in the countryside just outside Cuenca, in the early evening, we were lucky to see herds of deer.
I recommend this trip to anyone who lives in Spain or spend a holiday in this wonderful country.