Magnificent in its isolated hilltop setting, the ruined castle-monastery of Calatrava la Nueva is reached by a stretch of original medieval road.
It was founded in 1217 by the Knights of Calatrava, Spain’s first military-religious order, to be their headquarters. The complex is of huge proportions, with a double patio and a church with a triple nave. The church has been restored and is illuminated by a beautiful rose window above the entrance. After the Reconquest, the building continued to be used as a monastery until it was abandoned in 1802 following fire damage.
Opposite the castle are the ruins of a Muslim frontier fortress, Salvatierra , which was captured from the Moors by the Order of Calatrava in the 12th century.