Calatrava la Nueva

Situated on the top of a large hill overlooking the pass between Calzada de Calatrava and Villanueva de San Carlos, a short drive south from the city of Almagro, which is reachable by train to Ciudad Real, sits the abandoned ruin of the Castle of the Order of Calatrava. Given the castle on condition that they occupy it and protect the neighboring countryside from Moorish invaders, the Knights of the Order of Calatrava relocated there from across the pass (where they occupied the now in ruin Calatrava la Vieja) and held the site for several hundred years.

Today’s only inhabitants are the workmen slowly restoring the castle to a shadow of its former glory, and the sheep who find it’s parade grounds rich with succulent grasses. Traces of the old inhabitants can be found in the layers of soil that have been revealed by erosion or excavation (I can’t tell which) in the form of pottery shards and bone fragments. I even found a tooth from what appears to be a horse, lodged in the rich dark soil. A relic of some noble knight’s steed, or perhaps from an old gypsy’s forlorn pack mule that wandered off to die in a cold dark  corner of an abandoned castle on a windswept hilltop, somewhere in Spain.

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