Cáceres, Spain

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Cáceres
Municipality
View of the old town and its surroundings.
View of the old town and its surroundings.
Flag of Cáceres
Flag
Coat of arms of Cáceres
Coat of arms
Cáceres is located in Spain
Cáceres
Cáceres
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 39°29′N 6°22′W / 39.483°N 6.367°W / 39.483; -6.367
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Extremadura
Province Cáceres
Comarca Llanos de Cáceres
Judicial district Cáceres
Government
 • Mayor Elena Nevado del Campo (PP)
Area
 • Total 1,750.33 km2 (675.81 sq mi)
Elevation 459 m (1,506 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 96,759
 • Density 55/km2 (140/sq mi)
Demonym Cacereños
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 10001-10005
Website Official website
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Old Town of Cáceres
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Panoramic of the Old Town as seen from the Bujaco Tower.
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Reference 384
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1986 (10th Session)

Cáceres (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaθeɾes]) is the capital of Cáceres province, in the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain. In 2013 its population was around 96,000. The municipio has a land area of 1,750.33 km2 (675.81 sq mi), the largest geographically in Spain. The walled city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History[edit]

There have been settlements near Cáceres since prehistoric times. Evidence of this can be found in the caves of Maltravieso and El Conejar.[1] The city was founded by the Romans in 25 BC.

The old town (Ciudad Monumental) still has its ancient walls; this part of town is also well known for its multitude of storks' nests. The walls contain a medieval town setting with no outward signs of modernity, which is why many films have been shot there. The Universidad de Extremadura, and two astronomical observatories are situated in Cáceres. The city is also a seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Coria-Cáceres.

Cáceres was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 [2] because of the city's blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. Thirty towers from the Islamic period still stand in Cáceres, of which the Torre del Bujaco is the most famous.

Geography[edit]

The city of Cáceres is located in the province of Cáceres, in the Extremadura region of western central Spain. The city has a continental climate which is tempered by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. In winter the average temperature does not exceed 10 °C (50 °F) maximum, reaching 5 °C (41 °F) minimum, with some frost. In summer the average maximum temperature is 31 °C (88 °F) and the average minimum is 18 °C (64 °F). Rainfall is abundant in the months of October, November, March, April and May, but very intermittent. [3]

History[edit]

Maltravieso Cave.

The origins of Cáceres go back to prehistoric times, as evidenced by the paintings in the Cuevas de Maltravieso (Maltravieso Caves) which date back to the late Paleolithic period. Visitors can see remains from medieval times, the Roman occupation, Moorish occupation and the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Cáceres has four main areas to be explored: the historical quarter, the Jewish quarter, the modern center, and the outskirts.[4]

The first evidence of humans living in Cáceres is from the Late Paleolithic era, around 25,000 BC. Cáceres as a city was founded as Castra Caecilia by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius and started to gain importance as a strategic city under Roman occupation, and remains found in the city suggest that it was a thriving center as early as 25 BC. Some remains of the first city walls built by the Romans in the 3rd and 4th centuries still exist, including one gateway, the Arco del Cristo.

La Paz Hermitage.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the city was occupied by the Visigoths, and entered a period of decline until the Arabs conquered Cáceres in the 8th century. The city spent the next few centuries mostly under Arab rule, although power alternated several times between Moors and Christians. During this time, the Arabs rebuilt the city, including a wall, palaces, and various towers, including the Torre de Bujaco. Cáceres was reconquered by the Christians in the 13th century (1229). During this period the city had an important Jewish quarter: in the 15th century when the total population was 2,000, nearly 140 Jewish families lived in Cáceres. The Jewish population was expelled by Queen Isabella and Ferdinand of Aragon in 1492, but many remains of the Jewish presence of the period can still be seen today in the Barrio San Antonio.

Cáceres flourished during the Reconquista and the Discovery of America, as influential Spanish families and nobles built homes and small palaces there, and many members of families from Extremadura participated in voyages to America where they made their fortunes. In the 19th century, Cáceres became the capital of the province, marking a period of growth which was halted by the Spanish Civil War. Today, the headquarters of the university as well as several regional government departments are to be found in Cáceres.

Las Veletas Palace.
San Francisco Javier Church.
Los Golfines de Abajo Palace.
Co-catedral de Santa María.
Tower of the Las Cigüeñas Palace.
La Estrella`s chemin de ronde in the Monumental City.

Main sights[edit]

Cathedrals and churches[edit]

  • Church and convent of San Pablo (15th century)
  • Convent of la Compañía de Jesus, in Baroque style, today used for art exhibitions
  • Church of Santa María, cathedral built in the 13th century, in Gothic style
  • Iglesia de San Mateo, a 15th-century church built on the site of a former mosque
  • Iglesia de San Francisco Javier (18th century), in Baroque style
  • Iglesia de San Juan, large majestic church built between the 13th and 15th century
  • Hermitage of San Antonio Iglesia de Santo Domingo
  • Hermitage de la Paz
  • Church of Santiago

Wall[edit]

  • Torre de Bujaco (12th century)
  • Arco de la Estrella (18th century)
  • Torre de Sande (14th-15th centuries)

Palaces and stately homes[edit]

  • Palacio de los Golfines de Arriba
  • Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo. Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand I lived here
  • Palacio del Comendador de Alcuescar
  • Palacio-Fortaleza de los Torreorgaz, today a Parador hotel
  • Palacio de Carvajal (15th century). It is now seat of the Patronage Office for Tourism and Handicraft of the province.[citation needed]

Museums[edit]

  • Museum of Cáceres - ALJIBE - housed in La Casa de las Veletas y la Casa de los Caballos in the historical quarter.
  • La Casa-Museo Árabe, between the Plaza San Jorge and the Arco del Cristo. Arab culture, art and remains.
  • Museo Concatedral de Caceres, in the Plaza Santa Maria. Religious art.
  • Museo Piedrilla - Guayasamín

Nature reserves and rural tourism[edit]

  • Monfragüe National Park: It encompasses 85 km2 (33 sq mi) or 17,852 hectares. The park contains one of the largest areas of Mediterranean forest and scrub in Spain with over 1,400 different species of trees. A favorite with birdwatchers, the park has the world's largest colony of Black Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle.
  • Los Barruecos Natural Monument, 14 kilometres (9 miles) away from the city, in the locality of Malpartida de Cáceres. It has massive granite boulders with the only colony of White Stork nesting on them. There is also a medieval reservoir and a mill for wool washing. The building complex has been restores and houses a surprising collection of art by German artist Wolf Vostell, who was an important member of the fluxus movement. Spring brings an explosion of colour with the blossom of Spanish White Broom all pervasive in the area.
  • The Cáceres and Trujillo plains are protected under the ZEPA (Spanish for Special Protection Area for birds or SPA) protection figure.

Festivals[edit]

  • The Festival of the Martyrs (La Fiesta de los mártires) is held in January.
  • Carnival, The Festival of the Candles ( La Fiesta de las Candelas) and Fiesta de San Blas are held in February.
  • The Easter Festival Semana Santa is held during the week before Easter Sunday. Processions wind through the narrow streets in the historical center.
  • The San Jorge Festival, held on the 22–23 April, involves a dragon being burnt in a bonfire in the town square (La Plaza Mayor), accompanied by a fireworks display.
  • WOMAD music festival is held at the beginning of May.
  • Ferias de San Fernando is held at the end of May.
  • Fleadh Cáceres is a new[when?] cultural event that occurs between October and November months. The idea comes from Fleadh Cheoil Na hEireann which is an Irish music event that happens every August in Ireland.

Transportation[edit]

The city is served by the Cáceres Railway Station. Also, across the street is the bus terminal, with multiple buses daily to other cities.

Shopping and cuisine[edit]

The small streets in the historical center have lots of small shops selling typical products. The convents sell homemade sweets and pastries. Wines from Extremadura are affordable, full-bodied red wine. Local liquors include cherry liquor made with cherries from the nearby Jerte valley, or other original liquors such as chestnut or blackberry. Other produce in the province include sheep cheese (Torta del Casar, is not made of goat milk, but with milk from merino sheep), fig cake, chestnuts, hams and other pork products, lamb, olive oil, and paprika (pimentón de la Vera).

Salt-cured ham and red wine are produced locally and are officially recognized by the Spanish government. Both goat and sheep cheese are produced by traditional methods and renowned throughout the country. Cáceres is also famous for its stews, roast meats (especially pork, lamb and game), fried breadcrumbs (migas), trout, pastries and honey.

Education[edit]

The University of Extremadura (founded in 1973) has a campus in Cáceres.

Neighborhoods[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]