Urban Center of Vara del ReyVara del Rey (Cuenca)GPS: 39.42599868774414, -2.2936899662017822
This town is in the center of the region of la Mancha and is 109 km from Cuenca in flat terrain. Long ago, a Roman road passed through this town, connecting Pozoamargo with the road to Cartagena. It wasn’t until 1536 when Vara earned the title of village at the hand of King Carlos V, and from then on in its name has carried the suffix “del Rey”. It has also been important because the transhumant migration passed through here, which is why we find preserved in the town some wells with troughs to water the livestock, such as Hontanilla’s and Doña Elvira’s, and turrets, like Puentecillos’, next to the old livestock pens. With regard to the most important things the visitor cannot miss seeing, we can highlight the church of the Assumption, the City hall, the hermitage of the Rosary and the palace of the Marquis of Valdeguerrero.
WHAT WE’LL SEE
The church was projected to be a great building with three naves, but the changes in leadership during its construction and the collapses it suffered resulted in that the work remained unfinished. Today, what is preserved are the polygonal apse made of ashlar and at the southern wall some of the columns that led to the naves. Along this wall we can also see the renaissance door. Inside, the center of the transept serves as the central nave, and what was originally the apse are now lateral chapels. It all seems a bit complicated, but if you go to visit it, you will be captivated by its singular beauty. Among the important artistic pieces to highlight are a sculpture of an Ecce Homo and the renaissance baptismal font, with a fluted shaft and cup with gorges, its frieze is decorated with crosses, stars and triglyphs. Continuing with the religious buildings, the hermitage of the Rosary from the 16th century is notable from the outside for its rounded buttresses and its entry door with padded ashlars. At the foot of the building is the sacristy and a small bell gable.
Moving on to civil architecture, we begin by recommending a visit to the City Hall, in the Plaza of General Vara del Rey. It has a lovely portico formed by three rounded arches supported by pillars and above each arch, on the first floor, three windows. The central window is decorated with a triangular pediment and shields. Next, on San José street, is the place of the Marquis of Valdeguerrero, made up of the palace itself and other farm buildings, built between the 16th and 17th centuries. It is arranged around two patios, one for working and the other, Renaissance and more beautiful, in the palatial area. This one has two levels with a colonnade of rounded arches over doric columns on the lower floor and lintels on the upper.
Free access to the church and hermitage. Inquire regarding the City Hall and palace.
In the neighboring village of Villar de Cantos we’ll find a very interesting agricultural complex around the house-palace of the Marquis of Valdeguerrero. This is like a continuation, but in an agrarian environment, of the urban palace we’ll have visited in Vara del Rey. The ensemble is formed by the palace, the chapel and the workers homes, which is arranged in the shape of an L and which is accessed by a linteled entryway with padded ashlars and topped with the family crest.