Municipality in the province of Guadalajara,
located 130km. from Madrid.
A Mediterranean climate with a tendency
towards a moderate continental climate, with scarce rain causing it to
have somewhat cold temperatures in winter and very warm
temperatures in summer.
Today Sigüenza is proud to be a beautiful and inviting city,
enriched by the passing of time though it seems that time has not
altered its medieval character. The city conserves its medieval
structure which invites the visitor to stroll through the winding
streets of the city contemplating interesting monuments and
visiting shops filled with local artisan crafts.
proposed route through the city can begin at the Main Plaza. The
Plaza Mayor is a majestic example of Renaissance architecture,
although the surrounding buildings show details which pertain to
You simply must visit the cathedral of Cistercians style, with its
magnificent gothic rosette windows dating from the 12th to the
15th century and the accounts office in the city hall building of
plateresque style. In the interior of the cathedral you can find
magnificent relieves, altars and altarpieces. The Chapel of the
Doncel is located in the right hand branch of the cross. It was
constructed to hold the remains of Martín Vázquez de Arce,
the so-called "Doncel" of Sigüenza, a young nobleman
and warrior who lost his life fighting against the Moors in
Granada in 1486. His prone statue in alabaster is considered to be
one of the best of its style in Europe. The surprising realism and
the posture of the figure, lying down with a book open in the
hands, is unusual in a mausoleum.
The cathedral's museum is installed in three areas of the Cloister:
the town library, the summer Capitular room and the ancient
fragua. These rooms in and of themselves are considered
pieces of great historic and artistic value.
front of the cathedral is the Diocese Museum which holds examples
of Siguenza history as well as important works of art.
We can walk through the steeply inclined streets and contemplate
the remains of medieval walls, with the Iron Gate (Puerta de Hierro)
and Main Archway (Arco del Portal Mayor). At the end of the main
street and in the highest point of the city is the castle. You can
freely explore the exterior and the impressive patio. The fortress
conserves intact the original layout and main rooms: throne room,
Doña Blanca's room, main patio and the precious Romanesque style
chapel. The castle is now used as accommodation for the National
Parador of Tourism, a state owned hotel, which receives numerous
visitors and celebrates cultural activities.
Doncel de Sigüenza: Don Martín Vázquez
de Arce was born somewhere in the Castile region. From a very
young age he was put to service with the Mendoza family of
Guadalajara. His father being the personal secretary of the same
family. Learned in arts, letters and arms, he served as a page to
the First Duke of the Infantry, and accompanied the Spanish troops
in diverse war campaigns in Vega de Granada. In July of 1486, at
26 years of age, he fell in an ambush created by the Arabes in the
Granada valley, Islamic swords reached him. His father recovered
his body and some years later it was taken to Sigüenza, where the
family has acquired a chapel in the cathedral which they named San
Juan y Santa Catalina and there they placed the body of don Martín Vázquez de Arce.
His brother Fernando, bishop of the Canary Islands ordered the
prone statue for his tomb. It is not known for certain who was the sculptor
of this work, but it seems probable that this famous statue was
carved in the workshop of Sebastián de
Almonacid in the city of Guadalajara around 1492.
of Sigüenza was married to a mysterious woman, and had a
daughter, Ana, who inherited his possessions, few as they were.
The Acre family always maintained the cathedral chapel, in which
years later they buried the parents of Doncel, his brothers,
cousins, uncles, etc. Today it is one of the highest esthetic
sensations that you can enjoy: you enter the medieval cathedral of Sigüenza,
move forward through the main church, cross to the cross arm and
arrive before the sober gate "Juan Francés" to them
enter into this chapel, in which the dim ivory light from the high
narrow area bathes the enclosure in unreal and timeless poetry.
The Doncel lies, in carefully worked
alabaster, prone with legs crossed. He is a gentleman who died
fighting for "the Crusade" against the unfaithful. He
has a book open in his hands, and he seems to be meditating while
looking off into the distance, after having read. On his chest is
the red cross of the Order of Santiago of which he is a member. At
his feet, over the metallic closure, a miniature page looks at him
and cries. El Doncel
of Sigüenza is the maximum
representation of medieval culture, the use of arms to defend the
faith, reading to reach knowledge. Always looking off into the
distance, indicating assured residence of the soul.