Escalona, Toledo, SpainCategory: Toledo
Are you planning a trip to the central portion of Spain and plan to spend some time either in the city of Toledo or the surrounding area? Did you know that there are also a number of smaller towns and villages located nearby, towns that offer a number of interesting sightseeing opportunities and exposure to some of the region’s unique local traditions? The central region of Spain, which includes the historic city of Toledo and other towns and villages of the same province, is one of the most popular destinations among locals and tourists, primarily due to the sheer wealth of sites and attractions the region has to offer. In the following article we profile one of the towns from this beautiful region, the fascinating city of Escalona, and provide some details regarding its history, location and the chief sights and attractions.
Escalona is a municipality located in the northern part of the province of Toledo and a member-town of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha, Spain. The town has a total area of just 28 square miles (73 square kilometers) and a population, as of the last census, of approximately 3100 inhabitants. Most of the residents are settled in several housing estates around the city, such as Ribera del Alberche, Miragredos or Castillo de Escalona.
According to historians, Escalona has been inhabited for at least 2500 years, making it one of the oldest continually inhabited towns of Spain. Today the city is part of the comarca of Torrijos, which in turn is part of the historical region of New Castile—the southern portion of Castile, taken during the Reconquista (Reconquest) of the peninsula by Christian kings from Muslim rulers in the 11th century.
The town is nestled alongside the right side of the Rio Alberche (Alberche River), a river that runs through the provinces of Avila and Madrid, as well as Toledo, in central Spain. The Alberche begins its course at 1,800 meters in San Martin de la Vega del Alberche in the Avila province, and forms the natural division between the Sierra de Gredos and the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain ranges, in the Sistema Central. The river initially flows from the Northwest to the Southeast and bends sharply in its course to flow Northeast to Southwest, meeting the mighty Tagus River (the longest river in Spain that surrounds the city of Toledo on 3 sides) in the municipality of Talavera de la Reina. The sandy beaches along the river’s banks in Escalona serve as one of the main recreation spots for the town’s residents and visitors, some who travel from as far away as Madrid to enjoy a fun day in the sun.
The main sight/attraction in the city of Escalona is the Mudejar-style castle known as the Castillo-Palacio de Escalona. It was built in the 15th century by Don Alvaro de Luna and has a total perimeter of 420 meters. The perimeter is divided into two areas: the parade ground to the north and the fortress to the south. Visitors to the Castillo-Palacio de Escalona can still see the original moats, walls, towers and walkways of the castle’s exterior, and explore the brilliantly decorated rooms of the palace’s interior.
Other noteworthy buildings you will want to visit during your trip to Escalona include La Encarnacion, a convent built in the 16th century; the town’s Plaza Mayor, or main square, which features porches around most of its perimeter; a long and beautiful bridge spanning the meandering waters of the River Alberche; and an enormous variety of popular houses, with rows upon rows of balconies and porches.