Almagro, of Roman origin, in the great plain of La Mancha, was the headquarters
of the Order of Calatrava, the oldest and most important Spanish Knightly Order.
After the Moors invaded, it was a border town, alternately in the hands of the Arabs and the Christians. In 1214 the Archbishop of Toledo, Don Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, settled the old Roman Castrum miraculum with seventy old noble Christian families.
Two years later building began on the Fortress of Calatrava la Nueva, the fortified
headquarters of the Order.
The most important architectural monument in the province, with interesting cloisters in Ionic and Doric style. Pillars were cut from a single piece of Carrara
marble. The rooms have beautiful panelling and carving. The Gothic church has a very fine transept and tombs of the priors. Elements of Renaissance, as well as
Graeco-Roman styles, can be seen on the portals.
A 16C theatre, which is a protected monument and one of the town’s most important art treasures.Regular productions were mounted here Spanish classical theatre began to develop. With its decorated wooden galleries, stage and dressing rooms, the theatre is a memorial to the golden age of Spanish theatre. On the Feast of St.Bar-
tholomew (end of August) classical plays are still performed.
An elongated plaza in front of the Town Hall (1372); it is surrounded by stone arcades and small wooden balconies.
The original atmosphere of this quarter has been perfectly preserved in its streets, squares, coats-of arms and courtyards. Outstanding is the Palacio Maestral, in which Alfonso X Wise, allowed the Cortes to hold an assembly in 1273.
Majestic church with stone pillars by the architects Enríquez (1546). In 1797 the architect Toraya made some alterations.
Former Augustinian house (1635-1821) with fine paintings of the Zurbarán school on the ceilings and walls.
Built for the famous Augsburg banker Jakob Fugger (1459 – 1525), who had warehouses in Almagro for the mercury and silver mined in Amadén. His coat-of-arms is to be
found inside and on the portals. The building is single-aisled with ribbing and beautiful rose-windows.
The UNiversity begun in 1534. Degrees were conferred between 1597 and 1824. The stone figures in the Capilla del Rosario are of interest, as are the shields of the founder, Fernando Fernández de Córdoba, the Order’s Master of the Keys, and the coats-of-arms of the Counts of Cabra and the Dukes of Infantado, as well as of the Emperor Charles V.
The beautiful stone staircase and the assembly hall are worth seeing. Inside there is a splendid chest, which is said to have held Fugger’s money.