Anything But Paella

Chinchilla de Montearagon

Chinchilla (de Montearagon) is an incredible town built on a hill and watched over by a magnificent castle. It is located just outside the city of Albacete in Castille La Mancha and is well worth a couple of hours of your time if you are passing by.

The castle dominates the skyline in every direction. Whilst there are references to Chinchilla existing as early as 928AD, the only certainty about the castle is that it was rebuilt in the 15th Century. Details of its previous incarnation are sketchy at best! You can walk all the way around but it is impossible to get inside at the moment. This is allegedly due to restoration work, but there was no sign of anything going on!! The son of the famous pope Alejandro Borgia, César, was imprisoned in this castle in 1503 accused of the murder of his brother, the Duke of Gandía. Again, details are somewhat unclear but a little research suggests he was probably innocent. On your wanderings around you’ll have some fine views over the plains of Castille La Mancha, and you’ll probably notice some stone towers nearby. if you find out anything about them, please let me know!!

Just below the castle you can walk around to the nearby cave houses, easily recognisable by their distinct chimneys and whitewashed walls. Be respectful as these are obviously people’s homes, but they make quite a curious sight.

A little further down the hill and you’ll find a viewpoint with a curious construction on it. This is the Iberian Mausoleum of Pozo Moro dating back to 500BC. The original can be found in the National Archaeology Museum in Madrid and is the oldest known Iberian grave monument. There are some graphic reliefs inscribed on the side!

The town itself is a network of narrow streets and worthy of a little exploration. Most life seems to revolve around the post office square and the Plaza de La Mancha but public parking in both places means they are not as picturesque as they could be. There are a couple of museums to occupy your time a little more: The Santa María del Salvador Parochial Museum and the National Ceramic Museum. We found a place to park up and eat our picnic at the campervan car park at the foot of the town with great views looking up to Chinchilla itself.

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