The D.O. Valdepeñas region covers all or part of 10 local areas.
San Carlos del Valle
The origins of this locality date back to the former Santa Elena chapel that was probably built in the 12th or 13th century and stood here until the 18th century. This was no more than a simple chapel… except for the venerated (and miraculous) image of Santo Cristo del Valle that appeared on its walls.
During the 16th century, the first permanent settlement in this area developed around this chapel. With the image of Santo Cristo del Valle attracting a growing number of pilgrims, the Crown and the Council of Military Orders decided to build a new chapel.
The chapel was finished during the reign of Philip V and caused a sudden surge in local population, creating the need for significant urban development; a task entrusted to Pablo de Olavide during the reign of Carlos III.
In 1800, Charles IV issued a Royal Charter establishing San Carlos del Valle as a municipality in its own right, making it independent from the town of Membrilla.
With a current population of around 1,200, Manolo el del Bombo is one if its most famous residents.
Today, Alhambra is one of the largest municipalities in the province of Ciudad Real, a legacy of its historical importance during the Middle Ages, and it is home to the parish of Pozo de la Serna.
It is famous for its castle, built during the reign of Omeya on the site of a former Arab building.
Various Roman remains have been preserved in the historical quarter of this town (next to the church).
Some historians believe that this town (or its surrounding area) is the site of the important Roman city of Laminium, which is mentioned by many classical sources.
The first historical reference to Alcubillas appears in 747, when a place named «Alcoiellas» appeared on a map of local provinces drawn up by the Moors.
In 1181, a papal bull from Lucius III confirmed the donation of Alcubillas to the Order of Santiago by order of Alfonso VIII. In 1213, Alfonso VIII granted possession of all the town squares in the region of Campo de Montiel to the Order of Santiago.Then, Pope Honorius III issued a papal bull confirming the Christian possession of Alcubillas in 1223.
In 1243, after a legal dispute between the Order of Santiago and the Archbishop of Toledo, San Fernando granted ownership of the church of Alcubillas to the Order of Santiago.
In 1275, Alcubillas and other nearby villages were granted as hamlets to Montiel, when Gonzalo Ruiz was Master of the Order of Santiago.
In 1539, Alcubillas became a town and was no longer controlled by Montiel. It became an independent part of the Kingdom and the Royal Estate, paying the Crown the sum of 520,000 maravedíes.
In 1624, Philip IV, accompanied by his bother Prince Charles, his prime minister the Count of Olivares and the famous writer Quevedo, among others, stopped in Alcubillas on their way to Andalusia.
In 1809 during the War of Independence, the people of Alcubillas fought bravely against Napoleon’s troops, supported by Captain Rosales and Grenadier Juan Molina of the Granada Dragoons regiment.
In more recent history, Alcubillas reached the final of the first series of El Pueblo más divertido de España (Spain’s most fun village) aired on Spanish National Television in 2014.
Finally, since 2013 it has become a tradition in Alcubillas to parody the Christmas draw of Spain’s national lottery.
The name of this municipality is Mozarabic in origin and it is part of the traditional administrative division ( or comarca) of Campo de Montiel, which is mentioned in the famous tales of Don Quixote. Montiel was the site of an important battle in the Hundred Years’ War and in its satellite conflict, the Castilian Civil War: the Battle of Montiel. The battle was fought between the Franco-Castilian forces and a Castilian-Granadine alliance. The Franco-Castilian forces, led by Henry of Trastamara (later Henry II of Castile), defeated the Castilian-Granadine alliance led by Henry’s brother Peter of Castile.
Torre de Juan Abad
Juan Abad, who gave his name to the town, was probably one of the first inhabitants of Torre de Juan Abad in the Middle Ages. Torre de Juan Abad is thought to have belonged to the Order of Santiago and was under the control of Montiel.
The town was once owned by Francisco de Quevedo and Philip IV of Spain was a visitor at his house.
During the 17th century, the villages of Castellar de Santiago and Torrenueva split from Torre de Juan Abad.
Today, with a population of around 1,000, Torre de Juan Abad is famous nationally and internationally for its organ concerts and for its bi-annual International Conferences about Quevedo organised by the Francisco de Quevedo Foundation.
Torrenueva has always been linked to the Order or Santiago.
Two key dates mark the history of this municipality.
The first is 1275 when the Encomienda Mayor de Castilla was created, which covered the entire area that would later become the town of Torrenueva. Although Torrenueva did not exist at the time, the area in which it now lies and the Los Hitos grazing land, which belonged to Torre de Juan Abad , were assets controlled by this Encomienda.
The second date is 1440, when the town was granted its Municipal Charter. This act is recorded in a historical document signed by King Charles I on 2 June 1527, confirming the constitutional privilege awarded to Torrrenueva by don Henry, Prince of Aragon.
In 1513, just a few years after the «discovery» of the Americas, various residents of Torrenueva set sail for the New World, such as Juan Ruiz de Villamanrique, son Juan Ruiz and María Moreno.
Santa Cruz de Mudela
The name Santa Cruz de Mudela dates back to the first half of the 13th century. The various tales of its origins are a blend of historical events, tradition and legend.
Oral tradition speaks of the significance of a holy cross (Santa Cruz) in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Other sources suggest that it symbolises a crossroads in the Mudela grazing lands (so called for their proximity to the port of Muradal, one of the entry points to the Meseta plateau through Al Andalus).
In 1462, the town of El Viso became part of the encomienda of Mudela. It was controlled by the Order of Calatrava until just after the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs. Years later, it would become part of the Marquisate of Santa Cruz.
On 30 January 1538 Don Álvaro, the Old, brought the towns of Santa Cruz de Mudela and Viso del Puerto (Muradal) from Charles I. His son, Don Álvaro de Bazán, the Young, first Marquis of Santa Cruz, then built the Palace and the Franciscan friary.
Moral de Calatrava
The area surrounding Moral de Calatrava is thought to have been inhabited in the Middle Palaeolithic, as suggested by the many artefacts found around the Cueva de la Mora. Later, there was a Roman settlement or fishing village near to the Jabalón River known as Oreto , where some valuable artefacts have also been discovered.
Between 1535 and 1544, the encomienda of Moral was created, one of many formed in the Campo de Calatrava region to substitute those of Acea and Otos, whose assets had been incorporated into the Royal Estate of Aranjuez.
Philip IV of Spain, by writ dated 10 June 1646, granted the town jurisdiction in the first instance.
In the 18th century , Moral de Calatrava had a thriving economy, thanks to the crops and vegetables that flourish under the natural protection of its foothills. Wine production was estimated at around 15,000 arrobas and oil at 30,000.
On Wednesday 15 February 1895, Moral de Calatrava was proclaimed a city by the Queen Regent Maria Christina.
The first half of the 20th century saw a boom in agriculture and processing industries (vineyards and mills) and the population shot up, helped by the arrival of the railway (el trenillo del Moral – the little train of Moral), with tracks running directly to the vineyards.
Granátula de Calatrava
This municipality is characterised by its magmatic and phreatomagmatic volcanoes (Columba, Cuevas Negras, La Yozosa), which have created lakes like the crater in the town centre, Valdeleón, which is over 2 km wide.
Although a geyser known as the «Chorro de Granátula» appeared in 2000, these volcanoes are all extinct except for the fumarole on the Sima volcano.
There are two very important archaeological sites in the area:
La Encantada, a Bronze Age fortress with original defensive walls, houses or stores and a cave with a curious legend of a lizard or snake that turns into a mythical creature known as Trocanta or Encantá on the night of San Juan; and the Oreto and Zuqueca archaeological site with remains from the Pre-Roman era to the Middle Ages.
The house where the general and politician Baldomero Espartero was born in 1793 is found in the town, along with an equestrian statue of this famous resident.
In more recent history, the opening scene of the film Volver, by Pedro Almodóvar, was filmed in the area and the popular games and farming activities of La Mancha were also filmed.
The settlement that is today known as Valdepeñas began to emerge around the first millennium BC. This period also saw the emergence of Cerro de las Cabezas, an Iberian settlement from the 7th to the 3rd century BC.
From the 15th century onwards, the population of Valdepeñas increased considerably, with the Encomienda of Valdepeñas cited for the first time during the time of the 25th Master of the Order of Calatrava.
Philip II sold Valdepeñas to the Marquis of Santa Cruz, issuing a royal writ on 21 May 1582 stating that the town no longer belonged to the Order of Calatrava and would be sold to Don Alvaro de Bazán for 104,985 reales and 8 maravedíes.
During the 16th and 17th century, illustrious residents left for the Americas in search of adventure, such as the famous epic poet Bernardo de Balbuena or members of the Merlo family, who were actively involved in the conquest of the New World.
But the most significant historical event of our city, a prologue to the Battle of Bailén and incarnation of the romantic mindset of the time occurred on 06 June 1808. On this day, the people of Valdepeñas made a valiant stand against the Napoleonic troops commanded by general Ligier Belair.
This feat won Valdepeñas the title of the Most Heroic City on 29 January 1885.