Travel to Extremadura and Lisbon
Day 8 Merida - Caceres - Guadalupe - Madrid (446 Km.)
(in 70 Km.) Cáceres: We begin our tour through the Arco de la estrella, the eighteenth century, built on another arch of the fifteenth century to facilitate the passage of carriages. Inside, a niche with the virgin de la Estrella, culminates the arch on top. In the Plaza de Santa Maria (Saint Mary square), opposite the cathedral, is the Palacio Episcopal (Bishop´s Palace) thirteenth-century , with the main Renaissance facade of the sixteenth century and Gothic lateral of the fifteenth century. At the right is the wall of the courtyard of the Casa de Mayoralgo. Plaza de Santa María is the center of the lower town with the cathedral as a nucleus around which stand many palaces and stately homes of understated beauty, like Los Golfines palace, that of Diputación, etc. The Co-cathedral of Santa Maria is the most important building in the square of the same name. It is a church of Romanesque style transition to Gothic built between the fifteenth and sixteenth over an earlier one of the thirteenth century. Rectangular floor plan with three naves contains within it a splendid sixteenth century altarpiece in cedar wood.
The San Jorge square, dedicated to the patron of the city, marks the transition between the lower and upper town. There you can find the Church of San Francisco Javier, with rectangular floor plan with a unique nave and two square towers topped with stork nests. Baroque from eighteenth century, this church and the convent attached to the Compañía de Jesús was built by this religious order a few years before its members were expelled from Spain. The steep slopes require the construction of a beautiful staircase leading down to the square of San Jorge. A little further up we found the gothic Casa del Sol, from the fifteenth century with the coat of arms of Solis on the imposing arch of the entrance.
In the square of San Mateo we found the church of the same name and the convent of San Pablo inhabited by Poor Clares. The church is provided with various styles of building elements because was built and remodeled over the centuries since the fourteenth century. At left is the imposing Palace of the Cáceres-Ovando with its tower known as the storks by his great height. Near the square of San Mateo is the Plaza de las Veletas. Here is located the Casa de las Veletas (Las veletas palace) that houses the Provincial museum and the arabian aljibe (water well) from the twelfth century that worth a visit. The main building of the square is the sixteenth-century palace built on ruins of an Arab fortification in the highest point of the city. It retains a rock-cut Aljibe, second in size worldwide after the cistern in Istanbul. Nearby is the Palacio de los Golfines de Arriba, a fifteenth century building with later alterations.
On the slope of Aldana find a Toledo Mudejar style house and the Casa del Mono. The Arch of Santa Ana is a lateral access of the wall that become gateway in the eighteenth century. Over the wall runs the chemin de ronde that permits his circumambulation. From the palaces settled in front of the fortified towers arose peatonal gateways to access to them to save the chemin de ronde. Today are preserved some of them as the one arising from the Palacio de la Generala to the twelfth-century Almohad tower called del Horno. Passed the Arco de la Estrella, the chamin the ronde of Santa Ana ends with the impressive palace of Montezuma, which occupies the northern corner of the walled enclosure. This sixteenth century palace and Renaissance-style built over a former house of the fourteenth century was restored by a descendant of Isabel de Moctezuma, last Aztec emperor´s daughter, from which receive his name.
The Palacio de Carvajal (Palace of Carvajal) is Gothic of the fifteenth century with a splendid arch with impressive voussoirs and a pretty corner balcony. On the Amargura street, back to the cathedral, you can see its round tower of the first period of the reconquest of the city. On the Adarve de Cristo we find the oldest preserved gate in the wall: the Arco del Cristo (arch of Christ) dating from the first century and of Roman origin, built with granite ashlar. The Church of San Anton, the fifteenth century, is attached to the wall intramural, in the Jewish Quarter, in an area of ??steep and narrow streets where they lived until they were expelled the Jews of Caceres. The current hermitage was built on the ancient synagogue. At Ancha Street we find the Parador, a former palace of the Comendador de Alcuéscar of XIV century has undergone several renovations, preserving the tower as the oldest element. At the end of the street we found what was the harbour of Merida with the wall integrated in the surrounding buildings. On the left we leave the house of Pereros and to the right, we find the Hospital de los Caballeros that was built in the seventeenth century in Gothic style.
(in 125 Km.) Guadalupe: Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe is one of the masterpieces of Gothic-Mudejar. Alfonso XI ordered the construction of a fortress with a church attached, which must have been built in the late fourteenth century. When the Hieronymites take over the monastery in 1389 began major renovations as the magnificent facade that serves southern entrance to the temple, and the construction of Mudejar cloister. The front doors have pointed arches surmounted by tympanums, rectangular frames and a large rose window, all with flaming traceries with a lot mudejar style. The cloister of Guadalupe is spectacularly huge, consisting of a quadrilateral of two floors formed by horseshoe arches on octagonal pillars. In the center was erected a highly original little temple in which harmoniously blends Gothic and Islamic forms into a kind of pyramid of gables.
(in 251 Km.) Madrid: We rest in this city before starting the final stage back.