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Caceres Holidays

Caceres holidays

A stunningly beautiful city with a population of 96,000, the entire walled city of Cáceres was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Founded by the Romans in 25 BC, the city is a blend of Roman, Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance architecture and the whole is so well preserved that it resembles a film set, which is why the city is often used for this purpose. 30 towers from the Moorish occupation still stand within the city and the Moorish wall is still 80% intact. The city benefited greatly in the 16th century from the wealth derived from the conquests of the Americas.

Caceres, Extremadura

Holidays In Caceres

Only 350 people live within the walled area and, as many of the buildings are owned by institutions, there are no souvenir shops which helps the visitor visualise what the city was like in medieval times. All the palaces feature beautiful inner courtyards. Some of the stately homes are still in the hands of the nobility and, as they have been reluctant to sell and as access into the old city is difficult, no modern enterprises have moved there and the old city would be quite recognisable to those who lived there in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The main square of Cáceres, which dates from the 12th century is one of the largest and most picturesque in Spain and from there, the monumental Star Gate leads into the old town and its Jewish quarter. Before 1422, when all Jews were expelled from Spain, they made up 10% of the population. At one time there were many trees in the square but, as a result of a visit by General Franco, who wanted his supporters to be able to see him giving an address, the trees were cut down.  The square is pedestrianised.

Many of the churches in Cáceres were built on top of mosques. The most important monument in the city is a water cistern below the Alcazaba which was, in fact, an ancient mosque for which Roman columns were used to support the arches. This structure was subsequently used as a cistern in the style of that in Istanbul but obviously much smaller. Only two such cisterns exist.

As the city is built on top of a hill, the views from terraces across the Extremadura landscape are magnificent. Most noticeable in Cáceres are the enormous storks’ nests, perched above any tower or high vantage point. March to April is the mating season and the birds are fascinating to watch.  The Monfragüe National Park is a 40 minute drive from the city and contains the largest Mediterranean forest in Spain, with 1,400 species of trees and the world’s largest colonies of Black Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle. To the west (9 miles) is the Los Barruecos Natural Monument, an area of massive granite boulders which are also the nesting places of White Stork.

Cáceres teems with restaurants, cafés and tapas bars and in the evenings is lively, as this is a vibrant university city. There are many local dishes, good local wines, olive oil, hams from black pigs and both sheep and goat cheeses to be had. Cáceres was declared the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy in 2015.

The weather in July and August is hot, with an average high of 33°C!

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