The history of Cuenca is one of the richest in Spain, where traces of the Iron Age have surfaced through the remains of various burial grounds. Important Roman settlements, such as the ones found at Saelices and Valeria have also been located in Cuenca. The city also serves as the site where the Roman Conca was established, which later became a territory ruled by the Visigoths, followed by the Moors, until liberation came by the hands of Alfonso VIII in 1177. It was from then on that Cuenca would enjoy the unique rights as a frontier town, eventually becoming the headquarters of the knightly Order of Santiago.
Today, the history of Cuenca, Spain is captured in the many attractions and intriguing sites from the past that are scattered about the land. The Cathedral, located in Plaza Mayor, dates back to 1177, and displays the allure of several different periods of architecture. Another worthy chapel called the Palcacio Episcopal dates back to the 13th century. While the Cathedral is rather historic, the Town Hall is relatively new (an 18th century gem). To view a satisfying showing of period furniture and various works of art, the local San Pablo Convent is a 4-star, state-run hotel that dates back to the 16th century.
The villages in Cuenca also unfold to reveal an interesting history. Alarcon is a well-preserved, walled village with a medieval past. It is here that a castle and collection of impressive churches are positioned, where Don Juan Manuel was able to pen most of his works. The hill on which the village thrives upon is thought inhabited since prehistoric times. After the Romans conquered the land, the Arabs converted it into a fortress, which was later taken back by Alfonso VIII. In Belmonte, an assortment of well-preserved churches, palaces, and convents hailing from between the 15th to 17th century reside. Additional historic points of interest in Cuenca include the town of Huerte (with Roman, Visigothic, Arab and Christian ties) and the Mancha town of San Clementa (established in the 12th century by Catholic Monarchs).