Over the next two days, the small town of Belmonte, in the south of the Cuenca province, takes a leap back in time and returns to the Middle Ages. Visitors who escape to the charming Castilian town of La Mancha an hour and a half from Madrid will find soldiers dressed in the colorful warrior clothing of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, a craft market set in the past with medieval products and utensils, taverns, buffoons, beggars, belly dancers, falconers and a whole battlefield at the foot of the town's main tourist attraction,

the imposing Castle

, a 15th century fortress that crowns the hill of San Cristóbal, ordered to be built by Juan Pacheco, first Marquis of Villena in 1456.

The reason for all this staging is the

V edition of the National Medieval Combat Tournament. Belmonte Challenge,

in which, on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26, more than 100 fighters from 7 national and international teams will participate, who will compete hand-to-hand with each other or by teams, as they did in the Middle Ages.

It is an incredible spectacle from another time turned into a sport that is spreading all over the world.

The fights will be held in the esplanade located at the foot of the Castle, in different modalities of duels, melés or group battle, in which there will be no shortage of swords, shields, buckles and polearms.

The competition is regulated by a strict disciplinary code that safeguards the safety of the participants (price: 16 euros; tournament + visit to the castle, 19 euros; tickets here).

More information, program and schedule of fights here.

Medieval town at the foot of the Castle.

Medieval walk

In addition to the fighting, there is another activity in the town of Cuenca that transports visitors to times gone by. This is

Trebuchet Park

: the largest exhibition of full-scale siege engines in the world (up to 40). The guided tour led by the Master of Arms includes a tour divided into four different thematic areas (Christian world, Muslim world, Eastern world and Renaissance), which discovers how squares and castles were besieged or conquered from the 5th to the 15th century. The experience is complemented with a visit to the

Halconera del Castillo,

where the falconer explains what the art of raising, taming and teaching birds to hunt for poultry consists of (price: visit to the Castle and Trebuchet Park, 12 euros) .

Strolling through the narrow streets of Belmonte, flanked by its stately homes, will also transfer the public to ancient times.

Throughout the walled enclosure, with five gates (San Juan, Chinchilla, Almudí, Toledo and Puerta Nueva), of which three continue to be accessible to the population, there are numerous enclaves that are worth a visit. , like the

Palacio de Buenavista

(16th century, it is a hotel today), the

old Convent of the Jesuits

(baroque, from the 17th century), whose cloister is part of the Plaza Muñoz Grandes, the Plaza del Pilar, which still It has some arcades still standing, the Virgen de Gracia hermitage (from the 17th century);

the

Plaza Mayor

and the Old Corral de Comedias.

The Collegiate Church of Belmonte.

Without a doubt, the

Collegiate Church of San Bartolomé

requires an obligatory stop.

Built in the middle of the 15th century on the old parish of the 5th century, it is a National Monument and its style is mainly Gothic.

Of great proportions, it has two doors, the one of the Sun, oriented to the south, and the one of the Perdones, to the west and in which the figure of Saint Bartholomew appears.

Inside, the choir stalls stand out, which belonged to the Cathedral of Cuenca, the Chapel of the Annunciation, that of San Pedro and San Pablo, the Main Chapel, that of Santiago and that of Baptism (which preserves the baptismal font of Fray Luis de León).

In it are also the tombs of the family of the Marquis of Villena (schedule and price of visits here).

Where to sleep

Palacio Buenavista Hospedería

(Parish priest Luis Andújar 2, Belmonte, Cuenca; telephone: 655 41 08 57).

Next to the Collegiate Church, in the highest area of ​​the town, this rustic-style hotel is located in a 16th-century building.

Price: from 77 euros.

Reservations here.

Casona la Beltraneja Rural House

(Architect Sureda, 8, Belmonte, Cuenca; telephone: 967 17 08 78).

Old manor house from the 18th century restored and fitted out as a guesthouse.

It has 13 rooms, restaurant and free parking.

From 70 euros.

Reservations here.

The imposing Castle of Belmonte.

NOTE TO THE READER

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