La Mancha is located in the central area of Spain and south of the city of Madrid. It is considered a natural and historical region of Spain, and the city lies on elevated land that is dry but fertile. The city stretches in directions that place it in close proximity to other geographic features in the country. From the Toledo Mountains to the western hills of Cuenca the region extends. It also extends from the Sierra Morena to the south and Alcarria to the north.
The Origin Of The Name
The name of this region is derived from an Arabic word, al-mansha. This word is translated to mean ‘the wilderness’ or ‘dry land’. In Spanish, the word ‘mansha’ means spot or patch, but the name of this region does not translate to the Spanish definition.
The Climate Of The Region
This region has a cold and dry climate with fluctuations in the weather conditions. The main economic activity in the area revolves around farming and includes:
• Wheat crops
• Oat crops
• Barley crops
• Grape vineyards
• Olive crops
Raising livestock is also important for the economy in this area, and many farmers raise cattle. However, due to the difficult environmental conditions, cattle raising and other types of farming is highly restricted.
Culturally, the region includes many sub regions that help to make the culture diverse and extensive. The areas of Sierra de Alcaraz, the northern area of Sierra Morena and Serrania de Cuenca are included in the cultural lines of La Mancha. The inhabitants of the region are called Manchegos.
The Agricultural Importance Of The Region
Although the area is dry and cold, it is the hub for agricultural activity in the region. Cereals, sheep, cheese and goats are some of the agricultural products that are produced in the area.
La Mancha has become a popular region in Spain to visit not only because of the diverse geography but also because of the international fame the region received when Miguel de Cervantes began writing novels about Don Quixote.