Quintanar de la Orden is a fair-sized town of just over ten thousand souls, about ninety minutes’ drive south of Madrid in Castile La Mancha. “Quintanar” derives from the Latin word Quintana which means ‘one fifth’. This may refer to a tax paid at the local market or the fact that it was five miles from an important place. “Orden” refers to the Order of Santiago who had dominion over La Mancha after the Reconquista.
There is virtually nothing to see or do here so I was fairly thankful to leave after staying four nights. The lack of entertainment was made worse by the fact that two of those nights were a Sunday and a Monday when many places are closed but I did my best to nose out the best aspects of the town.
Here’s my Google map with all these places plotted on.
The oldest buildings I came across were the main church Parroquia de Santiago de la Espada in Plaza del Grano…
…and a couple of pretty little chapels.
There was also Casa de Piedra at 6 Calle Reina Amalia which has some nice stone carvings above and around the door.
It’s also the local museum so it could be worth checking what’s on there. Opening hours were 12.00 till 14.00 and 18.30 to 21.00 Wednesday to Saturday and 12.00 till 14.00 on Sunday.
In Plaza Echegaray, the central square, you’ll find the attractive Casa Pic, built in a Modernist style.
The square is also known as Plaza de los Carros due to some association with carriages, hence the statue in the middle.
In terms of local products the most well-known is probably the local aniseed spirit, Anís de la Asturiana, made by Hijos de Francisco Serrano S.A.
I quite like the clean lines of their Modernista factory building at 56 Calle Valencia which you pass when you walk into town from the Hotel Castellano. You get a powerful whiff of aniseed when you pass in front of their big doors.
The company was founded in 1895 by Francisco Serrano López-Brea, a Quintanar native who moved to Oviedo so that his business could take advantage of the better quality of infrastructure in Asturias.
Later, in order to increase their business, the company decided to leave Asturias and return to their origins. Quintanar is only 120 kilometers from Madrid, and relocating there opened up a significant potential market. The new distillery and factory opened in 1916.
I didn’t have time but I wanted to go to their office and ask if they might be able to arrange a tour. I found this video about their factory which will give you an idea of what it looks like inside.
Places to eat in Quintanar de la Orden next!