Guadalajara, Spain (Capital) - Encyclopedia

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GUADALAJARA, the capital of the Spanish province of Guadalajara, on the left bank of the river Henares, and on the Madrid-Saragossa railway, 35 m. E.N.E. of Madrid. Pop. (1900) 11,144. Guadalajara is a picturesque town, occupying a somewhat sterile plain, 2100 ft. above the sea. A Roman aqueduct and the Roman foundations of the bridge built in 1758 across the Henares bear witness to its antiquity. Under Roman and Visigothic rule it was known as Arriaca or Caraca; its present name, which sometimes appears in medieval chronicles as Godelfare, represents the Wad-al-hajarah, or "Valley of Stones," of the Moors, who occupied the town from 714 until 1081, when it was captured by Alvar Yanez de Minaya, a comrade of the more famous Cid. The church of Santa Maria contains the image of the "Virgin of Battles," which accompanied Alphonso VI. of Castile (1072-1109) on his campaigns against the Moors; and there are several other ancient and interesting churches in Guadalajara, besides two palaces, dating from the 15th century, and built with that blend of Christian and Moorish architecture which Spaniards call the Mudejar style. The more important of these is the palace of the ducal house del Infantado, formerly owned by the Mendoza family, whose panteon, or mausoleum, added between 1696 and 1720 to the 13th-century church of San Francisco, is remarkable for the rich sculpture of its tombs. The town and provincial halls date from 1585, and the college of engineers was originally built by Philip V., early in the 18th century, as a cloth factory. Manufactures of soap, leather, woollen fabrics and bricks have superseded the original cloth-weaving industry for which Guadalajara was long celebrated; there is also a considerable trade in agricultural produce.

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