10 reasons to visit Cuenca at Christmas
A nativity scene with more than 1,000 figures from Playmobil and one of the most valuable in Spain in the Neapolitan style, a San Silvestre in a canoe on the river Júcar, traditional and cultured music and dozens of plans with children make up the Christmas offer in Cuenca.
Cuenca, by its own personality,is in itself reason enough to motivate a getaway for several days, whether in Christmas or at any time of the year. The city has been declared a World Heritage Site for two decades for its picturesque and spectacular combination of monuments, popular architecture and nature. One of the most original and beautiful cities in Spain.
10 reasons to visit Cuenca at Christmas
1. A nativity scene from Playmobil with more than 1,000 figures. The old church of San Andrés (XVI-XVII centuries) welcomes Christmas from December 16 to January 6 a fun and endearing nativity scene composed of more than 1,000 human figures of Playmobil and several hundreds representing animals. A montage of 90 square meters with curious scenes that delights children and adults. Organized by the brotherhood of the Resurrected Jesus, admission is free, but you can collaborate with a donation that goes to fight against childhood cancer.
2. A gigantic and delicate Neapolitan nativity scene. The Napolitano Bethlehem that is installed in the Palace of the Provincial Council is overwhelmed by its size and the quality of its half a thousand figures, all of them handcrafted by the Association of Belenistas de Cuenca. Until the Day of Kings you can admire these 130 square meters that conjugate the most traditional scenes of births with others that make winks to Cervantes or that reproduce lakes and waterfalls. Last year attracted more than 50,000 visitors and is considered one of the most valuable and beautiful nativity scenes in the country.
3. San Silvestre in a canoe. The morning of the last day of the year is spent by water in Cuenca. A hundred people participate in the 'San Silvestre' in a canoe, which runs through the Júcar between Artificial Beach and El Sargal Beach. There are plenty of hilarious scenes of disguised sailors falling into the water and other spectacular ones when they expertly save the obstacles of the Júcar. A privileged place to see it is the Bridge of San Antón, with a fantastic perspective of the church of the Virgen de La Luz. Those who are more rain-fed also have a competition on foot on the 31st: the traditional Carrera del Pavo.
4. Convent Candy Market. Christmas is synonymous with sweets and the cloistered nuns know a lot about it, whose works are authentic factories of prodigies. The Museum of Holy Week hosts a market that offers the products of the Clarisse Nuns of Sisante, the Trinitarians of San Clemente and the Carmelites of Cuenca. In the same museum center an attractive birth is exhibited that is part of a Route of twelve cribs assembled by brotherhoods, almost all exhibited in the charming El Salvador neighborhood.
5. Ice skating rink. American films have identified in the collective imagination the Christmas holidays with the tracks to skate on ice. In Cuenca there is no lack of attraction, installed in the San Julián Park next to a children's fair. In the nearby Plaza de la Hispanidad and Calle Carretería there is the Christmas Market, with stands of typical products and artisans. Santa Claus and the Magi will pass by him to collect the letters of the children, for whom there are also programmed entertainment shows.
6. Polyphony, waltz and cult music. In a city as close to music as the capital of Cuenca, this art could not be missing at this time. The Theater Auditorium of the city hosts on December 28 the show 'The Musicians of Bremen', aimed at the whole family. On the following day it will be the Youth Orchestra of Cuenca which will star in its traditional Christmas concert and, on January 2, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Ballet of Madrid will bring the sounds of Vienna.
The polyphony concerts multiply throughout the urban map. For example, the Choir of the Conservatory will offer a concert of Christmas carols on December 20 in the Paraninfo of the University and the Chapel of Music of the Cathedral will do the same on January 3 in the old church of San Miguel.
7. Parties of all kinds and a clock to take the grapes.More and more families and young people opt for Cuenca as a destination to spend New Year's Eve together. The nightlife offer of the city ranges from large cotillions (such as the Sala Moove macrodisc, with notable DJs from the national scene) to gastronomic plans (dinners and joint parties at the Parador or at the gastrobar Pit's). There are plenty of relaxed but fun options in the picturesque neighborhoods of the Old Town. And, if you want a clock to take the grapes, it exists. The Mangana, a tower with the air of a fortress with privileged views of the new city and valuable archaeological remains.
8Misa del Gallo at San Julián El Tranquilo. The city of Cuenca is the scene of one of the most curious Misas del Gallo among those held in Spain. Neither the cold, nor the distance, nor the hours are an obstacle for the Eucharist to be celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve in the Hermitage of San Julián de El Tranquilo. The temple is located in the Hoz del Júcar, in a privileged natural area away from the urban area, located next to a bucolic grotto and accessed only by a path or by a ladder. Dozens of faithful do not shy away and participate in a celebration followed by a good bonfire, chants of carols and fraternal tasting of food.
9. Traditional rounds. An original anecdote in the basin of the early eighteenth century was the origin of the popular carol 'The Mariomorena' These and other popular pieces are part of the repertoire that rondallas and groups like Rondadores, Pulso and Púa and Tiruraina will perform in the traditional Christmas rounds that will tour the city on 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January. Dulzainas, bandurrias, guitars, zambombas and bottles of anise will flood music with the route between the Plaza Mayor and the Plaza de la Constitución, where large luminous trees have been installed.
10. Horseback riding, living crib and many plans with children. The Three Kings will also pass through Cuenca on the afternoon of January 5 in a striking cavalcade with geese, music, horses and many surprises. For the children, a wide and extensive program has been designed: Belén Viviente on the Paseo del Huécar on December 23; theater and legends on the 24th in the old church of San Miguel; and storytellers and children's workshops for the different neighborhoods of the city.
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