The Hanging Houses of Cuenca

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In the Castile–La Mancha region of central Spain, the Júcar river has carved a deep gorge as it flows through the Iberian Peninsula. Along its length, there are many small towns and cities. Of particular note is the medieval city of Cuenca that’s located where another river, the Huécar, merges with the Júcar.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cuenca is an outstanding example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain, with slopes descending into the deep gorges of the two rivers. Many houses called casas colgadas ("hanging houses") are built right up to the cliff edge, making Cuenca one of the most striking towns in Spain.

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Photo credit: Gabriel/Flickr

In the past, houses of this kind were frequent along the eastern border of the ancient city, located near the ravine of the river Huécar. Today, however, there are only a few of them remaining. Of all of these structures, the most well-known is a group of three with wooden balconies.

It’s difficult to determine the age of the houses since they have been refurbished several times throughout history, but there is proof of their existence in the 15th century. Over the centuries the houses have served many different purposes, being used as private homes and council houses. One of them is now a restaurant, and another a art museum.

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Photo credit: Nacho/Flickr

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Photo credit: Jose Bodalo/Flickr

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Photo credit: Jose Bodalo/Flickr

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Photo credit: Javier Losa/Flickr

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Photo credit: Xabel Delgado/Flickr

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Photo credit: Victor Rivera/Flickr

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