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[:RU]The fortress of Calatrava la Nueva[:]

[:RU]A visit to the castle of Calatrava la Nueva and it was my main goal in the province of Ciudad Real. The fortress is located on a very high hill, and seems impregnable even in current times of peace.

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Calatrava fortress originally belonged to the Arabs, but during the Reconquest Castilian King Alfonso VII conquered it. However, to capture the castle — is one thing and hold it — is another, and often more complex and costly exercise. Initially attracted to defend the castle of the Knights Templar, but soon took the baton Cistercian monks, and in 1157 was uchrёzhdёn new order of chivalry — the Order of Calatrava, who became the first Catholic order in Spain.

The castle became a stronghold of the Order for six centuries since the founding. Over the next century, the Knights of Calatrava XIII successfully otvoёvyvali nearby lands from the Arabs, for which won thanks to the Castilian crown in the form of money and favors. Soon, however, it is the growing wealth of the Order was the reason for the internal clashes and power struggles that eventually led to a gradual degradation of the Order until its abolition by royal decree in the XIX century.
In the 30-ies of XX century, the castle was declared a national monument.

The entrance to the castle leads a narrow winding rocky path up the hill. Over the arch side there is a small parking lot.

Then the track becomes exclusively pedestrian and leads into the fortress.

Castle appeared inhabited until now — it has been seen a knight of Calatrava :)

Just beyond the entrance gate in front of me appeared a dilapidated courtyard. During the time of the order here was a kind of center of reception and distribution of visitors of the fortress.

A series of buildings on the left part of the building was built in the middle of the XVIII century and allotted under the offices and warehouses. Earlier, in the XIII century on the site it was stables and a refectory. Now one of the rooms located ticketing.

Further, beyond the arch, held street artisans. There was a mill, a blacksmith shop, pottery shop, a bakery, etc.

There were also the living quarters for the workers.

More is located on the hill above the church, built in the XIII century. Service here, apparently, no longer held.

To the right of the church is located the so-called Field of Martyrs. Here we buried warrior monks who died in the battles against the Moors.

There is a small side chapel of the Martyrs.

Most self-employed hilltop castle — the most fortified part of the fortress. Archaeologists have found the remains of settlements belonging to the Bronze Age — apparently, the hill has always been popular. You can go inside the arch.

Castle form the wall and four towers arranged around the main observation tower, located in a total of kilometers above sea level. The thickness of the castle walls is more than 3 meters.

From the courtyard staircase leads up to the wall.

At the top is an observation deck from which the surrounding Castilian steppe clearly visible.

At the bottom was visible Hall Chapterhouse, who is now under restoration.

Time inexorably nearing evening, and the castle was closed. I went though with a touch of regret, but still pleased with how the elephant:)

The castle was one of the coolest of all that I saw. If you will travel in the province of Ciudad Real, be sure to see it.
This is my journey to Extremadura and Castilla la Mancha ended, leaving only arrangements which have no historical and cultural interest.

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