The Route of the Faces of Cuenca

One of the recreation options found in Cuenca is the famous Ruta de las Caras, near the town of Buendía. It is a wonderful artistic work made up of various sculptures of faces that, instead of being inside a museum, are exposed outdoors.

Lovers of recreational activities such as hiking, but who at the same time appreciate art, will probably be delighted to visit the Ruta de las Caras, a kind of outdoor sculpture exhibition , which is located a few kilometers from the town of Buendía, in the province of Cuenca.

Many may think that relating sculpture to nature is something far-fetched. However, this is possible and the best examples of it are in the millions of natural monuments around the world, in a wide range of latitudes. In this sense, the Route of the Faces also exemplifies how nature and art can go hand in hand, since through the large rocks located inside, two artists managed to make various sculptures that currently attract hundreds of visitors. 

History of the Route of the Faces

Las Caras de Buendía have a very simple story. Basically, nature was in charge of placing sandstone rocks in a specific perimeter of the Buendía Reservoir, specifically in the area called “La Península”.

Surrounded by pine forests and with a very high malleability, the sandstone rocks served as material for the sculptors Eulogio Reguillo (dedicated to repairing facades) and Jorge Juan Maldonado (dedicated to ceramic work) to sculpt on each stone faces alluding to various themes and characters.

This work began in 1992 and, to date, has received hundreds of visitors who are amazed at the beauty of the faces and symbols, but above all, at the fact of seeing an example of the close relationship between nature and the art. 

The sculptures

The Ruta de las Caras de Buendía currently has 20 sculptures, two of which are in the process of completion. As its name indicates, most of them are faces, although other parts of the body such as the neck, or some symbols can also be perceived.

Among the most famous sculptures in the exhibition, we must mention the faces of gods of the Hindu religion, such as Krishna, Maitreya and Arjuna. Likewise, another group is represented by mythological or fabled characters, such is the case of La nun, Chemary, El Chamán, El Paleto, Los duendes, La Dama del Pantano and La Calavera.

A famous historical figure who is also part of this collection is the musical composer Beethoven . Likewise, among the sculptures with a more symbolic meaning, we must mention the Spiral of Sorcerer, The Face of Power, The Coin of Life and the Templar Crosses.

The sculptures vary in size, so that works can be found that measure about 70 centimeters and others reach 4 meters in height. This makes the collection much more versatile and pleasing to the eye.

the archaic smile

A curious fact that is not so well known is the fact that many of the sculptures of faces show the so-called archaic smile . This is a characteristic feature of Greek sculptures, which predominated during the archaic era. In this way, the conceptual and technical value of this great work in the open air is even more evident.

A safe and kid-friendly tour

This route is quite safe, due to its ease of access. Likewise, it does not require a higher degree of physical resistance, since its distance is only 2 km, so almost anyone can complete it without feeling fatigue. 

On the other hand, it is a circular route with a drop of 50 meters. In the classification for hiking, it is among the group of routes with a low level of difficulty . Thus, it is designed for the whole family, including pets, whose access is also allowed to the premises.

In the same way, we must mention that this route is cheap, since you will not have to pay anything to enter the exhibition, this being another advantage that visitors appreciate.

What to see in Buendia?

In case you are interested in seeing more things in Buendía, or taking a longer hiking route, you can choose to start the tour long before reaching the Route of the Faces.

To do this, you must travel the PR-CU46 trail, although you must make sure that the route is approved or enabled for traffic. In any case, if the conditions for this journey are right, you should know that its extension is about 14 km, and its itinerary includes the passage through the Ruta de las Caras and the Peña de la Virgen viewpoint, as well as through certain remains with archaeological value.

On the other hand, you can learn more about the town of Buendía , whose structure follows the medieval pattern and has emblematic spaces such as the main square, the Plaza de la Constitución, the parish church, the Car Museum and the city walls.

If you look much further and focus on the surroundings of Buendía, you will end up discovering the Guadiela River Canyon (where you can practice climbing in various areas), as well as the rest of the swamp that makes up the region.

In these cases, you may need to bring one of the hiking backpacks, with the essentials for hydration, some snacks, sunscreen, etc.

How to get?

If you go by car from Madrid, arriving at this natural and artistic complex is very simple, since you only have to go along the A3 route, or by combining the A2 and the N-320. Depending on how the traffic is, the journey until arrival at the route is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

If you want to get out of Madrid and go sightseeing cheaply, you already know that the Ruta de las Caras is one of the most suitable options. The best thing is that you can go in the company of your family and friends, be in contact with nature and at the same time admire the art of sculpture. 

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