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article imageHike the 'Route of the Faces' at Buendía, Spain (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Aug 7, 2014 in Travel
Cuenca - Curving along next to the Buendía dam in the Cuenca province of Castilla la Mancha is a fascinating hiking route, unlike any other in Spain. This is the "Ruta de las Caras," or in English, the "Route of the Faces" and it is well worth the hike.
The area, not too far away from the capital city of Madrid, is thick with dense pine forests and outcrops of sandstone rock and overlooks the waters of the Buendía dam. Strolling the hiking paths through this landscape, an onlooker is taken on a cultural and artistic journey of spiritual discovery.
Several artists collaborated over the years to create this amazing artistic route, creating an impressive and striking collection of sculptures. The result is a series of 18 fascinating faces and bas-reliefs ranging in size from 1 to 8 feet in height, carved into the natural sandstone of the rocks.
Sculpture on the  Ruta de las Caras  at Buendia Dam  Cuenca  Spain
Sculpture on the "Ruta de las Caras" at Buendia Dam, Cuenca, Spain
YouTube
Each face has a mystical or religious meaning behind it and, carved into the natural sandstone, reminds one of Pharaonic Egypt, and the artists themselves say they were inspired by pre-Columbian cultures.
The route is perfect for both nature and art lovers alike and takes one out of the traditional museum setting into a more natural, serene forest, allowing the onlooker to see the relationship between the art and nature itself.
Sculpture on the  Ruta de las Caras  at Buendia Dam  Cuenca  Spain - Krishna
Sculpture on the "Ruta de las Caras" at Buendia Dam, Cuenca, Spain - Krishna
Asoka
Besides the "Route of the Faces," Buendía is worth a visit for many other reasons. There are several hiking trails available in the area, including some shorter and easier ones for children. A one-hour scenic route takes you through the area, including the sculptures.
A slightly more grueling route takes one past the Buendía swamps and alongside the Sierra de Altamira, with beautiful views across the landscape.
The dam and waterways close by offer many water sports, including jet skiing, boating, sailing, fishing and bathing in some areas.
Sculpture on the  Ruta de las Caras  at Buendia Dam  Cuenca  Spain - La Dama del Pantano
Sculpture on the "Ruta de las Caras" at Buendia Dam, Cuenca, Spain - La Dama del Pantano
Asoka
Eating is a pleasure, too, as the gastronomy of Buendía is varied and can be enjoyed in several restaurants in the town itself. Typical dishes include Cuenca roast lamb, chicken with garlic, pickled partridge, crawfish, migas (a traditional breadcrumb dish) and gazpacho (a cold soup made from vegetables), along with some very tempting local desserts.
Not too far away from the route, it is possible to visit the hanging houses of Cuenca, along with many other fascinating Roman ruins and other destinations.
Other Spanish travel news: Catoira, Spain and the annual attack of the Vikings (Video)
Sculpture on the  Ruta de las Caras  at Buendia Dam  Cuenca  Spain - Maitreya   Buddhist sculpture.
Sculpture on the "Ruta de las Caras" at Buendia Dam, Cuenca, Spain - Maitreya Buddhist sculpture.
Asoka
Sculpture on the  Ruta de las Caras  at Buendia Dam  Cuenca  Spain - Arjuna - Hindu sculpture.
Sculpture on the "Ruta de las Caras" at Buendia Dam, Cuenca, Spain - Arjuna - Hindu sculpture.
Asoka
Sources:
La Ruta de las Caras official website
Wikirutas
Castilla la Mancha guide
More about Buendia dam, cuenca, castilla la mancha, Spain, Artists
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