Oropesa, Toledo, Spain

Category: Toledo

The city of Toledo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Spain, largely due to the massive array of interesting sites and attractions it offers.  From its world-class museums to its ancient buildings and bridges to its seemingly endless number of commemorative monuments, the sites of Toledo paint a glorious picture of the city’s history.  If you intend to tour this historic and beautiful city—a city nestled on the banks of the Tagus River—you will certainly have no problem filling your daily itinerary, but once you have seen all that Toledo has to offer, you may also want to check out some of the towns and villages that surround the city, including Oropesa.

Oropesa:  Overview

Oropesa is a Spanish town located in the province of Toledo and a member town of the Autonomous Community of Castile La Mancha.  A small town, it has but a total area of approximately 130 square miles (337 square kilometers) and a permanent population of roughly 2,900.  It is one of the oldest inhabited sites in Spain, dating back to 1761 BC or earlier (it has been said that Hercules founded the town in 1716 BC under its previous name of Orospeda).  Despite its small size it has served, over the centuries as a refuge for monks, soldiers and weary travelers—a sleepy town where one can rest and recharge their batteries while taking in the natural and manmade beauty that makes up and surrounds the town.
The main tourist attraction in Oropesa is the 14th century Castle, now known as the Parador (Hotel) Oropesa.  In 1366, the castle and surrounding grounds were restored by their owner Don Garcia Alvarez de Toledo, but sadly it was destroyed 100 years later and had to be completely renovated once again.  That restoration, which began in the 15th century, led to the building that now stands today.  The parador once served as the residence for the Toledo family of nobles, including Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa—the castle’s namesake who once served as the Viceroy of Peru.

Today the Parador Oropesa (Hotel Hostal Virrey de Toledo) is a luxury four-star hotel offering exceptional views of the vineyards, olive groves and the snow-capped mountains of the Gredos mountain range.  Columns and arcades make the courtyard a prime feature of the Parador Oropesa, with original adornments such as curtains, lamps, and large chests used as decoration.  The castle also has a large seasonal swimming pool with its own bar and restaurant.  While the dishes in Toledo are traditionally made up of roasted lamb, the cuisine in Oropesa revolves primarily around game and seasonal produce.

If you have transportation, there are also many things to explore in the surrounding area, of Oropesa, beginning with the ruins of the ancient Muslim city of Vascos.  Vascos, which is bordered by two rivers, can be entered into via horseshoe-shaped arched gates.  The historic town dates back to the 9th century, and its fortress was built on the remains of a tower from the Roman era.  There is also a Citadel you can explore at the northern part of the city, as well as two cemeteries, one of which is walled, with ancient baths located adjacent to the Mora Stream.

Finally, just to the north of Oropesa is Aquila Cave, formed by ancient rocks that date back 500 million years, and was only discovered as recently as 1969 by a local farmer.  Each chamber within has been given a special name to reflect its color and shape, and can be characterized by the speleotherms, or mineral formations, that cover the ceilings, walls and floors.