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Hotels in Extremadura, Spain:
Badajoz Hotels  - Badajoz - Zafra Hotels - Cáceres Hotels - Cáceres - Guadalupe Hotels
Cáceres - Jarandilla de la Vera Hotels - Mérida Hotels - Trujillo Hotels
Caceres, Extremadura, A Walled Renaissance Town   by Nick Nutter

In the centre of Extremadura, in Spain, is Caceres. A World Heritage Site since 1986 and declared a Place of Historical Artistic Interest, by Royal decree no less, in 1949, it held the promise of great things; and provided them, although not entirely what was expected.

As you approach the old town, sat on the highest point of course, you will notice the warm yellow sandstone walls that totally encircle the hill. There are only three gates breaching the walls that allow access to vehicles and pneumatic stumps guard each one, the modern version of the portcullis. For the pedestrians there are another four gates through the well-maintained perimeter. For those who like a little trek then a walk around the interior base of the walls will take about one hour and gives you the opportunity to admire the twenty-two fortified towers. This is worth doing because it gives you a realistic idea of the size of the place, not very large. Yet this area is crammed with about seventy buildings, palacios, churches, museum and casas that the tourist board encourage you to visit.

You will probably find yourself in the large and imposing Plaza Mayor, which is just outside the walls and, from its cafes and restaurants, offers a fine view of the town. This plaza is 'the' place to be in Caceres and it is around here that you will find the restaurants. The local specialities include suckling pig and goat.

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Father and Son Looking over Town, Caceres, Extremadura, Spain - Buy from allposters.com
Wandering through the narrow, claustrophobic streets, it is virtually impossible to get lost, even if you do use the tourist map. What do you see? Monumental buildings, but no humble abodes. Where did the peasants live? What exactly has happened with this town? Another thing may strike you, the building style; it's all relatively modern, well après 1450, no medieval, no Arabic, certainly no Roman. And what about the sinister statue of a hooded figure carrying a cross alongside a desiccated monk with a leper's bell just outside the walls?

Suitably intrigued it was time to find the answers to these questions. As ever the best place to start was the museum, which is situated in the Casa de las Veletas o los Algibes, a bit of a mouthful, but it is the large building right at the top of the old town. There exhibits take you from the Paleolithic, through the Neolithic, Megalithic, copper, bronze and iron ages and, hardly pausing for breath, into the Roman period. The Romans did have a town here; they called it Norba Caesarina, although nothing now survives of it. The Arabs similarly were here but, with one notable exception, little remains from their time either. The exception is the cistern below the museum, still storing water, it is a monument to Arab ingenuity.

The puzzle as to why this town seems to start in the mid 15th Century is then explained. In 1229 King Alfonso IX took the town from the Arabs. The Christians who ripped down virtually every building in the place retained it. They then built the walls to defend themselves from the Arabs who, occasionally over the next couple of hundred years, tried to get it back. The town became a free trade centre and was soon full of merchants and then aristocracy all trying to outdo one another with fine buildings. In 1476 Fernando and Isabel ordered most of the town to be demolished to stop the continuous jostling for power.

One group of buildings that did survive is tucked away beneath the city walls and is the old Jewish quarter now called the Barrio de San Antonio. The Jews were moved outside the walls in 1478 to a new area around Calle Pintores, near that horrific statue in fact. In 1479 there were 130 Jewish families in the city, a considerable proportion of the population of 2,000. By 1493 there were none, all having been expelled from Spain, or worse.

After a few years to let the dust settle, the aristocratic inhabitants of Caceres started building again, each palacio or casa more imposing than the last. So most of what you see is from this period that only lasted until around the end of the 16th Century by which time the riches from the Spanish colonies were drying up. Caceres then slept undisturbed for 300 years untouched by events around until, in 1949 the place became Spain's first listed heritage city.

So, the real Caceres. It is a city that was built to satisfy the vanity of a few noble families who deliberately removed all presence of what had gone before. People of lower orders were removed or kept outside the walls. It was, for its introverted inhabitants, a fantasy existence that offers the visitor today an opportunity to appreciate the vast gulf between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' during the 15th and 16th Centuries. You could imagine the atmosphere of the place being similar to the Queen's Court in 'Alice Through the Looking Glass', a total disregard for reality. But then, those nice yellow sandstone walls were actually maintained to keep reality on the outside and they still work.

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About the Author - Nick is the editor of a magazine on the Costa del Sol, Andalucia Life
Cáceres - capital of Cáceres province in Extremadura. Products of cork, leather, pottery, and cloth are made there. Cáceres was an important Roman colony. It fell to the Moors in the 8th century but was recaptured (1229) by Alfonso IX. The old town, on top of a hill and encircled by turreted walls, has many notable Roman and Moorish structures.
Caceres, Extremadura, A Walled Renaissance Town
In the centre of Extremadura, in Spain, is Caceres. A World Heritage Site since 1986 and declared a Place of Historical Artistic Interest, by Royal decree no less, in 1949, it held the promise of great things; and provided them, although not entirely what was expected.. read more
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Hotel Barcelo V Centenario, Cáceres
The modern Hotel Barcelo V Centenario is set in a quiet residential area, two kilometres from Caceres' historic centre with its squares and palaces, in northern Extremadura.  The Medieval Quarter of Caceres is two kilometres away and the Los Barruecos nature reserve is 10 kilometres from the hotel. Guests can enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool with its separate children's area. The pool is bordered by a terrace where barbecues are held during the summer months.  Business guests are well catered for with a business centre and fully-equipped conference rooms with capacity for up to 600 delegates. The hotel's a la carte restaurant offers a fusion of modern Spanish and regional Extremaduran dishes and has a wide selection of Spanish wines, while Las Americas serves Spanish and international dishes and healthy eating options.  The hotel's informal bar overlooks the gardens where guests can enjoy a pre-dinner drink or have a light snack, pastry or tapas. 
Husa Alcántara, Cáceres
Located in the centre of Cáceres, a few metres from the old quarter. We offer you our "Clavero" restaurant where you can taste a creative and varied cuisine, together with traditional Spanish products or renowned cheeses and wines made using traditional methods.  The hotel also offers a coffee shop, social room, convention rooms and parking.  The hotel offers 66 rooms, all of them with complete bathroom facilities, colour satellite TV, Canal Plus, mini-bar, air conditioning and heating. 
Sercotel Extremadura, Cáceres
The Sercotel Extremadura is located in Caceres, Spain, 500 metres from the city centre and 1.2 kilometres from the ancient walled town centre. Caceres Train Station is 1.5 kilometres away. This hotel has a garden, solarium, sauna, hot tub, and outdoor swimming pool on site. Babysitting and childcare services are available. There is wireless internet access throughout the hotel. Breakfast is available daily at the Sercotel Extremadura.  International dishes are served at the Orellana Restaurant and there is an onsite bar and cafe.  The 290 air-conditioned guestrooms have modern decor with warm tones, patterned bedspreads, and wooden furnishings.  Amenities include satellite television, direct-dial phones, wireless internet access, minibars, and writing desks. Marble bathrooms offer hair dryers and complimentary toiletries.
Exterior Views Parador de Cáceres, Cáceres
The ancient Torreorgaz Palace is built on Arabic foundations with a linteled door and a Baroque coat of arms. It is in the heart of the Cáceres's old town and artistic centre, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. This 14th Century Parador, overlooked by its narrow tower, was founded by Diego García de Ulloa, knight of the Order of Santiago. Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles are reflected in the building and its surroundings.  Its internal courtyard, cobbled exterior, exposed wooden beams, and the lounge's original mantelpiece make up the hotel's interior decoration. The bedrooms, decorated in soft shades of cream are tasteful, spacious and comfortable.  Rosemary roast goat kid, merluza a la cacereña (hake dish), ancas de rana a lo mozárabe (Arabic-style frogs’ legs), roast young lamb shank with patatas a lo pobre (potatoes with green peppers and onions), and roast suckling pig... The hotel also has a wine-cellar featuring more than 300 varieties of Spanish wine.
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Guadalupe - noted for its monastery (formerly Hieronymite, now Franciscan) and the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose cult was transferred in the 16th century to Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico. The area is still a pilgrimage center.
Parador de Guadalupe - Caceres Province
The Hotel sits atop what was the old 15th century San Juan Bautista Hospital and the former 16th century Infantes or grammar school - important learning centres for medical surgery and grammar respectively. The hotel is located in the old town and has been declared a heritage site facing the world heritage site of the town of Guadalupe.  The garden - a true orchard of plants and flowers -, the Gothic and Mudéjar cloisters, the secluded pool and the large white-walled indoor spaces truly standout.  Enjoy simple local cuisine - Monastic cod, Extemadura ajo blanco (almond and garlic gazpacho), Extremadura migas, Iberian sausages, lamb stew, chestnut pudding, Guadalupe muégano cookie. Savour the simple local cuisine and bon appétit! 
Jarandilla de la Vera - Monumental town with a castle and monastery, located approximately 230 kms from Madrid.
Exterior Views Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera - Caceres Province
The palace-castle lies sheltered in the middle of the Vera and Tiétar valley, between gorges filled with water, woods of chestnut trees and oak groves and stunningly beautiful natural landscapes that reaffirm the richness of their historical, majestic surroundings. For months it played host to an illustrious guest - Emperor Carlos V.  From the exterior the towers, the courtyard, the patio de armas courtyard and its excellent swimming pool contrast with the olive and orange trees. Inside you will find a relaxing and intimate atmosphere. Enjoy the exquisite Extremaduran gastronomy: tomato soup, pucherete de perdiz (partridge stew), lomitos de cordero asados a la miel de la dehesa (honey roast lamb), migas extremeñas (garlic breadcrumbs) and, above all, tarta de bellota extremeña con sus bomboncitos (acorn cake with chocolate drops).
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Latest update: May 11, 2012