Chinchón – So Close to Madrid

Chinchón – So Close to Madrid

Chinchón, Spain – October 30, 2011

…and we’re off!!


The history of Chinchón traces back to 1060 when Fernando I conquered the village. A visit to the town demonstrates it is still somewhat a sleepy village. Only about 50 minutes from Madrid, it is like stepping back in time.

When we arrived, we parked outside of the old town area and walked in toward the Plaza Mayor.

A panorama of the valley as the road climbs toward Chinchón.
Everything is for sale…or lease.
A sign advertising two recent bullfights.
Near the door to a house is this ceramic tile of Our Lady of Hope.
This is a public job offer notice. The left column indicates how many positions are available.
Sign for the Virreyna Inn.
A compact, but typical, home in the old area of Chinchón.
The Wine Caves Inn.
Detail of the sign for the Wine Caves Inn.
A coat of arms above the door to a residence in Chinchón.
A very colorful van for the Lacasa Company.
Five signs.
A cobblestone street leading down to Plaza Mayor in Chinchón.


The most prominent area of Chinchón is the Plaza Mayor. Unlike so many other plazas in Spain, this one is mostly dirt to better accommodate the periodic bullfights held there. As one walks around the square, it is easy to make out the transition from cobblestones to the dirt bullring. At the edge of the stones are multiple holes in which they place the timbers for the wooden boundary of the bullring.

One can tell the buildings around the plaza are very old. There does not seem to be a plumb or square portion of any of the buildings. That provides a very quaint feel. People with rooms on the second or third level of the buildings have the perfect vantage point for the bullfights.

The cobblestones run from the edge of the bullring back toward the myriad restaurants and shops that line the plaza. Each restaurant has numerous tables and umbrellas handy. By about noon, the tables fill up with the locals and the tourists as they sample the local cuisine. Chinchón is known for its chorizo sausage. They are also well known for their Anis liquor. The percentage of alcohol in the several types range from a low of 35% to a high of 74%. That may be reason enough to skip a sample!

One of the entries to Plaza Mayor.
A communal water source just off the plaza.
Detail of the fountain and its coat of arms.
A panorama of some of the buildings surrounding Plaza Mayor.
Another view of the Plaza Mayor. In the background, on the left is the clock tower. On the right is the Our Lady of the Assumption Church.
A Chinchón police car parked near the police station in the plaza.
Near the tourist information office, we found this reflecting pool and some interesting ceramic art.
The panels of ceramic art tiles.
Detail of some of the tiles.
The metal sign of the tourist office.
Motorcyclists near the parador in Chinchón.
People and shops on Calle de los Huertos (Orchard Road).
A Woman with a wheelbarrow of garlic and onions, ready to begin selling them today.
A portion of the wall along Calle de la Iglesia (Church Road).
The holes in the wall appear to be choice spots for some pigeons.
The Our Lady of the Assumption Church.
A panorama of Chinchón from near the Our Lady of the Assumption Church. Plaza Mayor is in the center.
The old clock tower.
Looking down to the sidewalk many feet below the clock tower. The round objects are bollards to keep cars from parking on the sidewalk.
Looking along the wall toward the Our Lady of the Assumption Church.

On the weekends, it is not unusual to see a “train” of small donkeys.  The lead donkey pulls a small two-seat cart.  Behind that follow five or six donkeys, all tethered one to another.  Riding around the plaza is a treat for the children.  A ride once around the square is 3€ (US$3.65).  One can assume from the sign at the Mule-Drivers’ Tavern, that mule-driving is a cherished tradition in Chinchón.

A man attending to the mule-drawn cart in Plaza Mayor.
The sign for the Mule-Drivers’ Tavern.
People gathering outside the church after mass.
One of the residents in the wall.
Enjoying a coffee at Conrad’s Tavern.

From the south side of Plaza Mayor, looking to the north, one can easily see the Clock Tower and the church, Our Lady of the Assumption; both are very large and very much the skyline signature of Chinchón. The Clock Tower was originally part of the Our Lady of Thanks Church, originally built in the 14th century. Except for the Clock Tower, the remainder of the church was destroyed during the war for Spanish independence between 1808 and 1814. On the other hand, Our Lady of the Assumption has stood since construction began in 1534, ultimately completed in 1626.

The residents of the town are quite friendly. If possible, one should stop at a tiny shop in the northeast quadrant of the plaza. In the small, dimly lit shop were two older men that spend their time weaving baskets from local plant material, and drying produce such as chili, corn, garlic, and gourds. They are more than willing to talk to those that come in despite the level of Spanish language skill of the visitor.

Leslie with the owners of the dried produce shop.

A statue of Joseph and Jesus.

On the way out of town, the trip is not complete without a stop at the Castillo de las Condes (Counts Castle), initially built in the 15th-century. It is certainly worth the view; however, one cannot enter. During the war for Spanish independence (1808-1814), Chinchón was besieged for several days. During the siege, an artillery shot came into the castle, exploded, and burned the castle as a result. It has not been restored since; hence, no one is permitted inside.

The entry to the Castillo de los Condes (Counts Castle).
A couple taking a selfie at the entry to the Castillo de los Condes.
Tyler checked to see if anyone was home…
A portion of the west wall.
The west wall of the castle.
Looking north from the Castillo de los Condes, one can easily spot the Our Lady of the Assumption Church.

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