Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad de España
Ayuntamiento de Cuenca (In Spanish only)
View photos from OUR PLACE the World Heritage collection

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1996
Size of heritage: 23 ha
- Buffer zone: 170 ha

Longitude: -1,868°
Latitude: 40,077°


Built by the Moors in a defensive position at the heart of the Caliphate of Cordoba, Cuenca is an unusually well-preserved medieval fortified city. Conquered by the Castilians in the 12th century, it became a royal town and bishopric endowed with important buildings, such as Spain's first Gothic cathedral, and the famous casas colgadas (hanging houses), suspended from sheer cliffs overlooking the Huécar river. Taking full advantage of its location, the city towers above the magnificent countryside.

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Historic Walled Town of Cuenca

The Historic Walled Town of Cuenca, located in the Province of Cuenca, in the Autonomous Community of Castile-La Mancha, Spain, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the rich history and architectural beauty of the region. This medieval town, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Huécar and Júcar rivers, is renowned for its well-preserved historic center and impressive fortifications.


The origins of Cuenca can be traced back to the Roman era, but it was during the Islamic period that the town flourished. In the 12th century, Cuenca was reconquered by the Christians, and under their rule, it became an important strategic and cultural center. The town's defensive walls were constructed during this time to protect it from potential invasions.

During the Middle Ages, Cuenca experienced a period of prosperity, with the construction of numerous religious and civil buildings. The town became known for its impressive Gothic cathedral, which was built between the 12th and 13th centuries. The Hanging Houses, a unique architectural feature of Cuenca, were also constructed during this period. These houses, built on the edge of the cliffs, seem to defy gravity and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

In the 16th century, Cuenca faced a decline due to economic and political instability. However, the town experienced a revival in the 20th century when it became a hub for artists and intellectuals. The arrival of the Spanish painter Fernando Zóbel in the 1960s played a significant role in the cultural renaissance of Cuenca. Zóbel established the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, which showcases a remarkable collection of contemporary Spanish art.

Current State

The Historic Walled Town of Cuenca is a well-preserved example of a medieval fortified town. Its narrow, winding streets, lined with traditional houses and charming squares, create a unique atmosphere that transports visitors back in time. The town's defensive walls, which encircle the historic center, offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

The Gothic Cathedral of Cuenca, with its intricate façade and towering bell tower, remains one of the town's most iconic landmarks. Inside, visitors can admire beautiful stained glass windows and a rich collection of religious art. The Hanging Houses, with their wooden balconies jutting out over the cliffs, are a must-see attraction that showcases the architectural ingenuity of the town.

In addition to its architectural treasures, Cuenca is also known for its vibrant cultural scene. The Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, housed in the former Convent of Las Carmelitas Descalzas, exhibits works by renowned Spanish artists such as Antoni Tàpies and Eduardo Chillida. The town also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, including the Semana de Música Religiosa (Holy Week Music Festival) and the Cuenca International Film Festival.

The Historic Walled Town of Cuenca continues to be a living testament to the region's rich history and cultural heritage. Its well-preserved architecture, stunning natural surroundings, and vibrant cultural scene make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, art lovers, and nature seekers alike.