Travel To Go | Been There, Do This: Cuenca, Spain

Been There, Do This: Cuenca, Spain

By: Kaitlin Cintorino

 

With such a culturally diverse history, it logically follows that Europe would be home to a number of towns with unique and uncommon features. One of these locations is the small medieval town of Cuenca, Spain.

Located about 100 miles east of Madrid, Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a true gem of central Spain. The city is named for its geography — “Cuenca” is Spanish for “basin” — and it rests atop a steep hill at an intersection of two deep river gorges.

Cuenca is best known for its hanging houses, which date at least as far back as the 15th century. These houses came to be because of the town’s hilltop location: Enterprising Spaniard architects built houses uncommonly close to the cliff’s edge, with wooden balconies jutting out over the ravine below.

Although these famous hanging houses used to line much of the Huecar Gorge, their precarious location has taken its toll — only a few houses now remain.

Of these remaining houses, two have been converted into sites that tourists can enter and enjoy. One house is a traditional Spanish restaurant; though currently under renovation, the restaurant is set to reopen in 2018. The other house is now an abstract art museum, featuring a permanent collection of 129 paintings and sculptures by Spanish artists. Clients might forget their close proximity to the cliff’s edge while perusing the collection. but recommend that they peek out the windows for a breathtaking view of the gorge below. (Entrance to the museum is free.)

After marveling at the hanging houses, continue exploring the town’s cobblestone streets, the Cuenca Cathedral and historical museums.

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