Semana Santa de Cáceres
 
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Semana Santa de Cáceres
 Easter Week in Cáceres
16 to 23  March
 
 Popular Holidays in Spain.
 Arts and culture
Semana Santa de Cáceres
Solemnity and religious fervour in a unique setting
 
 
Cáceres has interesting Easter week celebrations. We should make special mention of the beautiful religious statues, the traditional music that washes over Cáceres’s stunning monuments and buildings, and the cofradías (religious associations), some of which date back to the 15th century, that take part in the Easter processions. Religious icons, some of which have a huge historic-artistic value, accompany members of the cofradías, on their processions through the city’s historic centre, filling Cáceres with solemnity and religious fervour. At this time there are no shortage of saetas (songs dedicated to the religious icons), most of which are sung anonymously

 
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Cáceres

Province: Cáceres / Autonomous Region: Extremadura
Tourist Office: Plaza Mayor, 3 - 10003 Cáceres (Cáceres)
Tel. +34 927010834 +34 927010835 Fax +34 927010836

The city of Caceres was founded by the Romans in 34 B.C., under the name of Norba Caesariana. But it wasn't until the arrival of the Arabs in the 12th century that the city would experience a period of splendour. A century later, the city would fall into Christian hands, after being reconquered by King Alfonso IX of Leon. In the 15th century, queen Isabel the Catholic put an end to the continuous fights over the control of power among noblemen by cutting off the top of the towers that crowned their fortified homes. Henceforth, a period of economic prosperity began in the city, which also benefited greatly from its active role in the Discovery of America. The walled precinct of Caceres, mostly Almohad, still preserves several medieval towers, such as the towers of Bujaco, Yedra and Horno, built in the 12th century.
The city within the confines of the wall



The Arco de la Estrella (Arch of the Star), lets you inside the walled enclosure. This gate, built by Manuel de Lara Churriguera, was built in the 18th century to replace the previous medieval gate "Puerta Nueva", (New Gate).

Once inside the medieval quarter, there are palaces and ancestral homes at every step, still exhibiting their families' coats of arms.Plaza de Santa María is surrounded by several palaces. One of them is the Palace of Carvajal, built between the 15th and 16th centuries and later restored in the second half of the 20th. Inside it conceals a picturesque Renaissance courtyard, whose centre is taken by millenary fig tree. Next to the palace, a circular tower still stands, it was built by the Arabs back in the 12th century. The palace presently houses the Regional Board of Crafts and Tourism.

Also surrounding the square is the Palace of Mayoralgo (16th century), the biggest in the city, with an interior patio lined with pointed brick arches. On the same area is the Episcopal Palace, which has a fifteenth-century façade with foiled arches and a Renaissance front with dressed keystones.

The compound is dominated by the Procathedral of Santa María, a sixteenth-century Gothic building. The temple has three naves with orgive vaults. Note the plateresque high reredos and choir stalls. They were made by Guillén Ferrant and Roque Balduque, with cedar wood and include valuable sculptures and relieves. In the side chapels, in addition to the Baroque sarcophagi and reredos, note the image of the Christ of Blazquez, also named "the Black Christ", who, according to traditional tales, used to kill those who dared to look at it, or touch it.

The House of Cáceres-Ovando, built in the 15th century, is located in the neighbouring square of San Pablo. Its semidetached Tower of Cigüeñas is the only one whose crenellations remained intact, pardoned by queen Isabel the Catholic.

But beyond all doubt, one of the most beautiful examples of local architecture in Caceres is the Palace of Golfines de Abajo (from the 15th century), with a gorgeous sixteenth-century plateresque façade and overlapping Gothic and Mudejar elements. The Catholic Monarchs stayed in this noble building during one of their visit to the capital.

The House of Paredes Saavedra, built between the 15th and 16th centuries, is located in the San Mateo Square, along with the House of Lorenzo de Ulloa (15th century) and the Casa de las Veletas (House of the Weather Vanes). This palace was built in the fifteenth century, on top of an ancient Almohad fortress, it was rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century. The exterior is marked by its beautiful Baroque façade and the pinnacles that crown it, popularly known as weather vanes (veletas). Inside, under the courtyard, the building preserves an ancient reservoir from the old Arab fortress, circa 12th century. Nowadays, the building houses the Regional Museum of Archaeology, which exhibits an interesting collection of artefacts and ethnographic objects that narrate the history of the province.

The church of San Mateo (16th century), with its interesting plateresque façade, is on the square by the same name, occupying the space of the ancient high-mosque.

Beyond the confines of the walls, a magnificent staircase leads to the main square, or Plaza Mayor, which is flanked by numerous towers and the Balbos moat. In the vicinity of the square is the Palace of Godoy (16th century), a Renaissance building with a beautiful corner balcony. Next to this ancestral home is the church of Saint James (Santiago), the temple where the Order of the Friars of Caceres was founded, the predecessor of the Order of Saint James. Among the elements that were added to the Romanesque structure, a reredos by Berruguete stands out.

As youleave the city, you will see the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Mountain among the peaks of the neighbouring Sierra de la Mosca, in its interior, it has a Baroque reredos. The adoration of Our Lady of the Mountain, patron saint of this city since 1668, began in a cave that you can also visit, located under the temple. The temple also provides one of the most amazing views of the monumental city and its outskirts.

Gastronomy and the Outskirts

The main ingredient in Caceres' local cuisine is pork and pork products. Shepherd recipes are a tradition in the whole province, these include lamb and lamb suckling stew (caldereta), migas (bread crumbs with sausage and bacon), etc. Other typical dishes include the sopas canas (with milk, bread, oil, paprika and garlic) and “ropavieja” (meat with a sauce that has egg and tomato). Any of these specialities should be had with a glass of wine from Caceres protected with the label Designation of Origin-Ribera del Guadiana. For dessert, have some sheep cheese, or goat cheese, or some of the excellent cakes and pastries made in convents or monasteries, especially the sweets from the convent of San Pablo.

The old Palace of the Commander of Alcuéscar, also known as the Palace of the Marquis of Torreorgaz, has been fitted to house the city's Parador de Turismo (Inn), one of the best hotel establishments in the capital. It is a noteworthy building from Old Caceres, built in the 14th century and remodelled in the 15th and 17th centuries.

The province of Caceres has a number of interesting routes available. One of them is Vía de la Plata (the Silver Route), a Roman road that linked Seville and Astorga, later used by the pilgrims who were headed to Santiago de Compostela. In addition to Caceres, following this road we can visit Plasencia, the second most important city in the province. Behind its walls, the city conceals an important artistic patrimony. The Parador of Plasencia is located in a fifteenth-century convent, at the heart of the historic quarter.

To the north, in the region of La Vera, is Hervás, a village that has one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in Spain and Valverde de la Vera, declared Historic-Artistic Site. In Jarandilla de la Vera, next to the Monastery of Yuste, visitors can spend the night at the local Inn, or Parador de Turismo, a medieval palatial-castle.

To the east of the capital is Trujillo, a conquerors' birthplace. This is the location of the old convent of Santa Clara (16th century), which houses the local Inn, Parador de Trujillo. The town of Guadaloupe is located a few kilometres away. This town, a Historic-Artistic Site, is the home of the Monastery of Guadaloupe, a Gothic-Mudejar building that was declared World Heritage. Guadaloupe's Parador de Turismo (Inn) is located in the old premises of the Hospital of Saint John the Baptist, (15th century). Lastly, the Monfragüe National Reserve is one of the many natural treasures that visitors will find in Caceres. This reserve is a beautiful, diverse space that has been declared Special Bird-Protection Area
 

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