From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
La Mancha is an arid, fertile, elevated plateau (610 m or 2000 ft.) of central Spain, south of Madrid, stretching between the Montes (mountains) de Toledo and the western spurs of the Cerros (hills) de Cuenca, and bounded on the south by the Sierra Morena and on the north by the La Alcarria region. It includes portions of the modern provinces of Cuenca, Toledo, and Albacete, and most of the Ciudad Real province. It constitutes the southern portion of the Castile-La Mancha autonomous community and makes up most of the region.
Famous Spaniards like the cinema directors Pedro Almodóvar and José Luis Cuerda, painters Antonio López and his uncle Antonio López Torres, footballer Andrés Iniesta and actress Sara Montiel were born in La Mancha.
La Mancha and Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes gave international fame to this land and its windmills when he wrote his novel Don Quixote de La Mancha. Some believeTemplate:Fact that Cervantes was making fun of this region, using a pun; a "mancha" was also a stain, as on one's honor, and thus a hilariously inappropriate homeland for a dignified knight-errant. Translator John Ormsby believed that Cervantes chose it because it was/is the most ordinary, prosaic, anti-romantic, and therefore unlikely place from which a chivalrous, romantic hero could originate, making Quixote seem even more absurd.
Several film versions of Don Quixote have actually been filmed largely in La Mancha. However, at least two of the most famous - the 1957 Russian film version, and the screen version of Man of La Mancha, were not. The 1957 film was shot in Crimea, while Man of La Mancha was filmed in Italy. G.W. Pabst's 1933 version of Cervantes's novel was shot in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.