About 45 kilometers from Madrid capital, with a density of about 5,000 inhabitants and easily accessible on foot, is the most beautiful town in Madrid and one of the most beautiful in Spain. This is Chinchon. Framed by vineyards and olive trees, in the Tajo-Jarama basin, brag about an iconic Plaza Mayor, good Castilian cuisine and an interesting calendar of festivities.
The first settlers of Chinchón arrived in the Neolithic and lived in some of the many caves in the vicinity. Traces of an Iberian settlement have also been found, while the Romans from neighboring Titulcia established their camps here. In Arab times, Chinchón belonged to Toledo, until in the middle of the 11th century, King Fernando I reconquered the territory.
Under the reign of Enrique IV it received the title of “Villa” and, at the beginning of the 18th century, the county was acquired by the House of Bourbon and Farnese, and was given the title of “Very Noble and Very Loyal” in recognition of his fidelity in the War of Succession. The French appropriated the goods that Monasteries and Convents kept but, to this day, they still keep all these jewels…
Medieval Main Square
The most emblematic point of Chinchón is its square: historic, old, full of arcades, stepped roofs and 234 wooden balconies painted green. Of medieval origin, with several entrances and a rather irregular shape, this Plaza Mayor is an example of the Castilian popular architecture and the nerve center of the town.
Since its construction, between the 15th and 16th centuries, it has been the scene of royal proclamations and festivities, cane games, comedy corrals, bullfights, cattle fairs, autos sacramentales, executions and even a filming set: Cantiflas, Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles or John Wayne recorded there.
In addition, it is full of restaurants and terraces to have a snack or eat. The star dishes are cooked in wood ovenPairing: suckling pig, lamb, kid, chorizo… Accompanied by roasted peppers, Castilian and garlic soups, migas, vigil stew, stew or sheep’s cheese.
The Clock Tower and the Our Lady of the Assumption Church
There is a popular saying that goes: “Chinchón has a tower without a church and a church without a tower”. And it is that the Clock Tower is the only thing that remains of what was the church of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, built in the fifteenth century but destroyed by the French in 1808.
While the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption lacks a tower since it was built as a chapel for the counts of Chinchón. For this reason, as there was no need to call the rest of the population, no bell tower was built. Inside there is a painting by Goya: The Assumption of the Virgin.
Castle of the Counts of Chinchón
Although it is not possible to access its interior and it is not excessively well preserved, the castle of Chinchón is rich in history. The original was razed in 1520 and the counts of chinchon They built the one on the remains of the previous one.
During the War of Succession, a couple of centuries later, it passed into the hands of the Archduke of Austria, who deteriorated it until it caught fire. Later, during the War of Independence, it would be looted and burned (again). Finally, in the 20th century, it was a liquor factory.
Lope de Vega Theater
The Lope de Vega Theater It was built in 1891 on the former Palace of the Counts. It was in this palace where Lope de Vega wrote and signed the comedy The Coat of Arms of the Chaves de Villalba so it was decided to baptize the theater with the name of the author. With a capacity of 400 people, it has undergone several renovations, the last being in 1987. Its structure is simple and classic. Inside there is a magnificent curtain, a painting attributed to Luis Muriel, with motifs from the Plaza Mayor and allegorical scenes.
In addition to these essential places, it is also worth getting to know other places such as the Poor Clares convent, the hermitages of San Antón and San Roque, the house of the Chain and the convent of San Agustín, now converted into a parador.
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Cover photo | tourismmadrid.es