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Alameda de Cervera (Alcázar de San Juan), Ciudad Real
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Alameda de Cervera

Alameda de Cervera

Finca Los Batanes is located in Alameda de Cervera, a district of Alcázar de San Juan. It lies to the south west of the town, in the province of Ciudad Real. It is part of the Campo de San Juan, a district of Castile-La Mancha including 14 villages which were under the authority of the Order of St John, also known as the order of Malta.

Alameda de Cervera, on the river Guadiana, is two hours from the centre of Madrid and one and a half hours from Toledo and Ciudad Real, giving the visitor the possibility of a peaceful retreat, far from the bustle of the city. It is surrounded by the villages of Arenales de San Gregorio, Campo de Criptana, Alcázar de San Juan, Cinco Casas and Tomelloso.

The local fiestas, in honour of St Lawrence the Martyr, are held on 9, 10 and 11 August. Its main economic activities are agricultural, above all viticulture and the growing of melons.

The history of Alameda de Cervera dates back to Roman times when it was an Imperial Villa. Later, with the arrival of the Moors, a castle was built which was later seized by the Order of Santiago, which ceded it to the Order of St John, the latter turned it into a leisure area for its priors. The castle is located in what is currently the Casa Grande, also called the Castillo de Cervera, built in 1865 by the Order of St John, which also owned the convent in Alcázar de San Juan. It was purchased from the order by Alberto Urech and since then belonged to the descendants of his family.

Alcázar de San Juan

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza

Alcázar de San Juan is a municipality in the Castile-La Mancha's region, located in the North-East of the province of Ciudad Real. It lies 150 km south of Madrid at the border with the province of Toledo.

Alcázar de San Juan ranks twelveth in Castile-La Mancha's population, distributed over three areas, the town itself and its two districts, Cinco Casas and Alameda de Cervera, which includes Finca Los Batanes.

Some studies consider that Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) was born in Alcázar de San Juan pointing to, for example, the works of Angel Ligero Móstoles, Francisco Saludador Merino, Rafael Mazuecos Pérez-Pastor, Manuel Rubio Herguido and Bruno Redondo. This Cervantine tradition is based on the baptismal certificate found in the Parish Church of Santa María for a son of Blas Cervantes Saavedra and Catalina López, named Miguel. In 1748 Blas Nasarre, the Royal Librarian and Cervantes expert, wrote in its margin, "This was the author of Don Quixote.

Alcázar de San Juan Lake Complex Natural Reserve

The Alcázar de San Juan Lake Complex consists of three lakes:

Malvasía Cabeciblanca

The complex is near the town and cover over 1700 acres of protected area with a high natural value, also recognised as a wildlife reserve and a special birdlife protection area (ZEPA), La Mancha Húmeda Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO) and internationally important wetlands (RAMSAR).

These three lakes originated in the remains of ancient riverbed´s of the Quaternary period. They later became separated and divided. This river can be seen today by the cuts in the ground between the River Gigüela and the Lake Las Yeguas, where a deposit of fine rock substance with small pebbles can be seen.

Typical of these wetlands, the wildlife of the greatest interest are the water fowl, notably the White-headed Duck, in danger of extinction, which has bred here successfully since 1998. Other vulnerable species include the Gull-billed Tern, the Avocet, Common Shelduck, Black-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Cinnamon Teal, Common Pochard, Common Pratincole, Purple Heron, Flamingo, Common Crane, etc.