Campo de Criptana is a municipality and town in the province of Ciudad Real in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). It is found in the region known as La Mancha.
“At this point they caught sight of thirty or forty windmills which were standing on the plain…” Thus begins chapter VIII of Don Quixote. In Cervantes’ time windmills were quite common. This view is undoubtedly the characteristic landscape of Campo de Criptana, presenting its silhouette from the Sierra de los Molinos and the Cerro de la Paz. A 19th century land registry drawn up at the behest of the Marqués de la Ensenada shows 34 windmills in existence at that time, each clearly marked with the name of the mill and that of its owner. Through archaeological remnants, we know that they had once been far more numerous.
Today, ten windmills can be seen from afar, with their original structure and machinery preserved. Visitors can tour the inside of the mills and listen to a presentation about their function. Other mills have been converted into museums: the Inca Garcilaso is a museum celebrating the working of the land, the Pilón is a museum of wine, the Quimera is dedicated to Vicente Huidobro, the Culebro to the actress Sara Montiel, and the Lagarto to poetry. The Poyatos windmill houses the Office of Tourism. Every Saturday one of the restored mills is put into operation.
In 1978, the entire group of windmills was declared a Monument of Historical-Artistic Interest, which today is referred to as a Cultural Heritage Site.