Southeast of Campo de Montiel, we find the largest concentration of towns of the region, amongst them we find Terrinches. The city center is situated in a valley and its morphology is typically medieval, with streets of irregular design.
Terrinches possesses a great documentary heritage, especially from the sixteenth century. Also in its term, some important archaeological sites were discovered. Historians consider Terrinches one of the most ancient human settlements of Campo de Montiel, already well known in Roman times.
On the other hand, the natural environment of Terrinches shows a landscape marked by a continuous succession of small elevations, the slopes of many of them covered with olive trees. They reach their highest point in Cerro Conejero (1008 m.), towards the south, and Castellanos (1041 m.), towards the west. To the east and south are large plains and gentle hills, crossed by seasonal springs which flow into the Guadalmena. The Sierras de Segura and Alcaraz limit the horizon in that direction.
At the highest part of Terrinches rises the Castle, a square tower whose sides measure 17 meters. It is surrounded by a wall with circular massif in the recently restored corners. Its objective was to give shelter and defense to the inhabitants of the village in case of attack. The tower, its outer part well preserved, is a very solid construction of masonry with walls 4 meter thick.
Its state of conservation is good, thanks to its acquisition and the reconstruction carried out by the municipality. An outer rampart, nowadays missing, reached a contour of 600 meters.
The Castle or Terrinches Treasury, houses inside the Interpretation Centre of the Order of Santiago and is declared of cultural interest with the category of Monument.
Church of Santo Domingo Guzman
The Parish church of Santo Domingo de Guzman located on the south end of the town, in a small fenced plaza, where several narrow streets, with crooked and fragmented paths, converge. Worth to note due to its narrowness of the Callejón de la Iglesia (church alley) on its Northern façade.
It has a single rectangular nave with three-sided polygonal front, to which are attached four sections separated by pilasters, with a high choir or rostrum to its feet. The main body is covered by a cannon vault for lunettes. It has two entry doors.
The bell tower located at the center of the west side, its square section, consisting of two first quadrangular bodies, imposted, the lower one having more height, serves as base to two other octagonal corps, also separated by imposts, with tops ajarronados on their four corners and a pyramidal roof covered with Arabic tiles. Four of the upper octagon sides show small windows below semicircular arches, where the bells are installed. The material used for the construction is the ashlars. In the lower square corps several rectangular windows open, with stone lintels.
Inside the church of Terrinches we observe a beautiful high altarpiece of the 17th century, it was made by Miguel Bajo and Gaspar Vistal. It is formed by three corps, built over a bench, representing scenes of ‘The arrest’, ‘washing of the feet’ ‘Last supper’ and ‘prayer in the orchard’ surrounded by the evangelists.
The Organ of Terrinches
It is also worth highlighting from this church the magnificent choir ensemble, composed of a tribune, and an organ stand. Its broad elliptical arch stands on two fluted columns.
This tribune still preserves the carved box of an organ, dated of eighteenth century. This instrument was built by the artisan García Herraiz in 1799. Its metal tubes disappeared during the Spanish Civil War and the organ had remained silent since then. In 2006 restoration started finally amounting to 1800 hours devoted by the Desmottes brothers. En 2009 the organ performed again in a concert of the organist Francis Chappelet.
Chapel of the Virgen de Luciana
At the spot where the old Camino Real traverses Terrinches, stands out the ensemble of the chapel of the Virgin of Luciana and the bullfighting ring. There, important archeological reminders from the roman period have been found.
This small chapel is located at 800 meters west of the city center. Its singular beauty makes it one of the most important of the Campo de Montiel. Of ancient origin, it was rebuilt between 1484 and 1525, thanks to the Count of Osorn, then Highest Commander of Castile.
It has rectangular ground plan, with the major shrine with a cross vault, in the later gothic style. Inside one finds an anonymous altarpiece that blends to perfection architecture, sculpture and painting.
Castillejo del Bonete
In the area called “Castillejo del Bonete”, there is an archaeological site from the Bronze Age of considerable interest. For years the municipality of Terrinches has promoted research of this place. Five burials of diverse typology have been excavated, several of them with funeral dowry. Defensive ramparts. Fortified cave. Ensemble of exceptional remnants such as arrow’s heads, daggers, buttons, awls, vases… The site is dated by means of Carbon 14 on 1750 bc; it has provided materials as remarkable as ivory buttons of African origin which shows the international trade network in which the inhabitants were engaged.
The Roman Villa of the Ontavia
The Roman Villa of Ontavia is a singular settlement of ancient medieval origin, located close the Via Herculea in Terrinches. It shows two main sectors, the villa and the necropolis. On the site, an ensemble of structures have been identified and studied. They correspond to the Pars Urbana (manor area), with large dependencies and pools where the owners took leisure baths 1700 years ago.
It is the largest known ancient thermal resort in the province of Ciudad Real, strategically located along the road linking Cadiz with Rome, a veritable highway at that time, that was taken by Julius Caesar heading his legions.
Although the necropolis has been heavily pundered trough the years, it has been possible to draw some conclusions shedding light on the funerary area. The ritual burial with the body oriented west to east (from head to toe) in supine position. The graves are separated by streets, which is common to allow the access to relatives and to the laborers of the cemetery area.
Route to the Gorges of San Isidro
This magnificent route borrows its name from the chapel that was recently built there.
This is a transition landscape formed of plains, ravines and mountains.
Leaving behind the chapel, a path makes its way through this mountainous space, crossed by ravines where the waters of ancient rivers carved with their flow the gorges towards which we head. This path offers the possibility to tour at one’s ease a landscape in transition, discovering how the typical beautiful plains of the Campo de Montiel progressively lose their calm as they transform onto the Andalusian mountains.
The path shows a diversity colors that form a chromatic contrast of cultures and holm oak forests, of deep crevices and stony lands, which turn more abrupt as we descend hillsides to end at the banks of the creek de la Cañada de las Fuentes del Sumidero, more known by the locals as the mother creek.
For hikers, this area offers more than 30 miles of trails. And also several recreational and leisure areas where we can dispose of benches, tables, barbecues and toilets.
There is an extraordinary natural park just two miles from Terrinches. From that point one should not miss the views of Terrinches and the whole and Campo de Montiel. An exceptional place to spend a day in close contact with nature.
Terrinches has one of old organs that have been restored in the Campo de Montiel. On different occasions through the year, music concerts are held. One of the dates of these concerts is August 8, the day of its patron, St. Dominic.
Fiestas and traditions
Our Lady of Luciana
The commemorative celebration is held on the days around August 15. These are the patron festivities Terrinches, after their Virgin: Our Lady of Luciana.
Other relevant celebrations
St. Anton, January 17. San Isidro on May 15. The carnivals. Las Cruces in May. The choice of steers, on the first weekend in August, are other of Terrinches festivities.