Cáceres is the capital of Cáceres province, in the autonomous community of Extremadura. The medieval walled city has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city’s blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. Cáceres has been a trade route city and a political centre of the local nobles for many centuries. Since prehistoric times, people from different cultures have gathered in Cáceres and have shaped its strong historical roots. Pre-Roman settlements occupied the original plot followed by the Roman, Arab, Jewish and Christian people. The influence and remains of these cultures can be observed and studied in the walled ensemble of Cáceres, with a wide typological and constructive variety ranging from popular architecture to palace-houses, with their characteristic sobriety and towers of the nobility of Gothic and Renaissance times. Thirty towers from the Islamic period still stand in Cáceres, of which the Bujaco Tower is the most famous. The city’s history of battles between Moors and Christians is also reflected in the architecture, which is a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles. This property also includes noteworthy religious buildings such as churches, hermitages and convents.
At the bottom of this web page, you can find a map showing the most important areas of the city.
This Hispanic-Arabic cistern is one of the remains that has survived of the military Almohade citadel, as the building that houses it – the Palace de las Veletas, now the Museum of Caceres – was restructured in the 15th century and remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries. It still contains water. This water storage, which still collects the rainwater that falls in the Renaissance patio that covers it, is one of the largest of its time, which is why it is so spectacular. Its effect is increased by the golden light that pours from the zenith towards the five naves composed of horseshoe arches.
Arco de la Estrella (Star Arch)
The traditional entrance to the monumental city of Cáceres. It gets through Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Santa María, both hubs of the city for centuries. With Baroque style, it was built by Manuel de Larra Churriguera in 18th century on an arch from the fifteenth century; it is an arch of great amplitude and skew, made in this way to facilitate the way of carriages to the Monumental City. On the back there is a temple in which the statue of Nuestra Señora de la Estrella which gives the name to the arch.
Torre de Bujaco (Bujaco Tower)
Bujaco Tower is the most important tower of the city and one of the symbols of Caceres. It is Moorish Style, built in the 12th century, on Roman ashlar stones. It has a square plant, with balconies in each sides, the one in the front side was built in Renaissance Style, added to the tower in the eighteenth century. Its height is near 25 meters. The tower of Bujaco has a meritorious interpretation center about the history of the city, and the views from the upper part of the tower are really fantastic.
Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo (Palace of Golfines de Abajo)
It is the biggest palace in the Monumental City because it is built in the space of nearly twenty houses. It has one of the most beautiful facades of Cáceres, join different architectural styles: gothic, renaissance and plateresque. In the main facade we can see a twin window with middle point arch and mullion of marble, with lonic capital and on it, the catholic Kings shield. Under the window, the Golfines Shield clamped for two angels and with the inscription “Fer de Fer”. This gives us to understand that this palace was chosen for the Catholic Kings for lodge when they visited the city in 1480.
Ermita de la Paz (Chapel of la Paz)
Originally this was a chapel dedicated to San Benito, rebuilt in the18th century in the Baroque style. A portico opens out at the entrance, with three semi-circular arches on masonry pillars and a brick cover. Inside the small church there is a Baroque altarpiece presided over by an image of the Virgin with Baby Jesus in her arms.
Iglesia Concatedral de Santa María (Church Con-Cathedral of Santa María)
This is the most important church in Cáceres. It was built between the 15th and 16th centuries over an earlier building. It has Gothic facades and on the Gospel side there is a pillar with a corbel supporting the Virgin. The main altarpiece, from the 16th century, is made of cedar and pine wood, without polychrome, and it is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin. Highlights the Chapels de los Carvajal, the Baroque altarpiece with Saint Michael the Archangel is really nice, and the chapel of the Cristo Negro, an image from the 15th century that is the star of one of the most important processions of Holy Week in Caceres
Iglesia de San Mateo (Church of San Mateo)
The church, built in the 16th century, possibly over the site of an old mosque, took a long time, almost three hundred years, to build. It has an outstanding facade, with plateresque decoration. Inside, the main altarpiece is pine-colored and was made by Vicente Barbadillo in 1766. The Chapel de los Sande, now the sacristy, is Gothic inside, with a beautiful ribbed star vault. There are the tombs of the city’s noble families in the walls: Ovando, Golfines, Paredes, Saavedra, etc. It is in the square of the same name. It appears to have been the weapons square in the Muslim city. In the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age it was one of the locations within the walls around which the palaces and fortified houses of the most important noble families were built.
Iglesia de San Francisco Javier (Church of San Francisco Javier)
This joint church and college was built by the Company of Jesus in the 18th century. It is Baroque style and occupies a large area in the centre of the Monumental Area. The church’s facade has a semi-circular arch and a niche that shelters the image of San Francisco Javier and is flanked by two square towers that finish in pyramids. Inside is a single nave, with side chapels and a cupola over a stone cross. The main altarpiece has Corinthian columns framing a canvas that represents the ‘Miracle of the Crab’. This church is placed in the Plaza de San Jorge, between the oldest squares of Santa María and San Mateo. The square takes its name from the sculpture of Saint George, the city’s Patron Saint, which presides over the square from a niche.
Iglesia de Santiago (Church of Santiago)
It is outside the walled area, in the area of Caleros. Outside it has Gothic facades, which have archivolts and are framed by alfiz. It has a magnificent main altarpiece, for which the master Alonso de Berruguete was commissioned in 1557. The images of Nuestra Señora de la Esclarecida, from the 15th century; Cristo de los Milagros or de las Indulgencias, also from the 15th century; and Jesús Nazareno, carved in Seville in by Tomás de la Huerta, are also interesting.
Santuario de la Virgen de la Montaña (The Sanctuary of the Virgin of la Montaña)
This sanctuary is placed in the Sierra de la Mosca, at an altitude of about 600 meters. This chapel dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Montaña, the patroness of Cáceres since 1906, was built in the 18th century. In its interior houses a carving of the virgin that dates back to the 18th century and images of both Santa Ana and el Cristo de la Salud. The chapel is decorated in Baroque and Churriqueresque styles.
Helga de Alvear Foundation visual arts centre
This centre houses one of the most important contemporary art collections in Spain. The works of art belong to the private collection of Helga de Alvear, one of the promoters of the ARCO Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid. This collection contains artwork by famous artists, including Francis Bacon, Miquel Barceló, Eduardo Chillida and Salvador Dalí. The centre also has a large library containing some of Helga de Alvear’s personal books about contemporary art that are available for reference. Likewise, there are guided tours available with different activities and workshops organised for each exhibition.
Palacio Carvajal (Carvajal Palace)
A noble palace with gothic and renaissance architecture. In its interior has a rectangular cloister with arcades on columns. Special emphasis have also to be placed on its round tower (12th century) constructed in masonry and decorated with interesting paintings in its base. Nowadays, this building houses the tourism office of the provincial council of Cáceres.
Museo Provincial de Cáceres (Cáceres Museum)
This building, also known as the “House of the Veletas”, it is located at the highest part of the old town. It was built in the end of the 15th century over the ruins of the old Arab fortress (alcázar) and an ancient Arab cistern is conserved in its interior. Nowadays, it houses the provincial museum of Cáceres and houses the sections on the archaeological and ethnographic past of the city. The pieces of sculpture, paintings, etchings and religious goldwork and silverwork will allow you to journey through several historical periods. The main building has an annex building known as Casa de los Caballos, which was built in the 16th as barn for horses and later turned into a house, where paintings and sculptures of several contemporary Spanish artists (Picasso, El Grego, Miró and Tapies) are exhibited.
Casa-Museo árabe Yusul al Burch ( Yusul al Burch Moorish house-museum)
The Moorish house-museum is located in the heart of the old town, between Plaza San Jorge (San Jorge square) and Arco del Cristo (Roman Arch of the Christ), the oldest monument of the city (1st century). The house was built in the 12th century re-using a Roman house.
Fundación Mercedes Calles y Carlos Ballestero
Nonprofit foundation established with the legacy of Mrs Mercedes Calles. Its headquarters is located in the Casa Palacio de los Becerra, a house with typical medieval architecture built in the 15th century. Temporary exhibitions of important pictorial collections are organized in this building.
A noble house with a traditional Portuguese architecture turned into the historic dwelling place for illustrious people from Cáceres from the past. Casa Pedrilla houses personal objects, documents, manuscripts, photographs-in short, memorabilia from personalities from the world of the music, research, philosophy and politics here in Cáceres.
Casa de las Cigüeñas (House of Storks)
Also known as the “Palace of storks”, it was built towards the end of the 15th century by Diego de Cáceres. This building is classifiable as a completely unique construction and it is characterized by a battlement tower that overpowers the city demonstrating its grandeur. Today, it houses the military governance of Cáceres.
GASTRONOMY AND LEISURE
- Areas for tapas: Old town, Plaza Mayor (main square) and surroundings, Cánovas, Plaza de Colon.
- Drinking Areas: Plaza Mayor (main square), Calle Pizarro (Pizarro Street) and La Madrila.
- Gastronomy and typical products:
- Jamón ibérico “Dehesa de Extremadura”. One of the great treasures in the food store of Spain and the best jamón ibérico de bellota.PDO (protected designation of origin). Its colour varies from pink to purplish-red, with fat marbling, and its flavour and aroma are characteristic, delicate and slightly salty.
- Queso Torta del Casar. A cheese with protected-origin status (POS) made from Merino and Entrefina sheep’s milk produced in “Llanos de Cáceres” and surroundings. It is considered as one of the best sheep’s milk cheese. It is eaten as an appetiser or a dessert, spread on bread and always accompanied by a good wine.
- Pimentón de la Vera (Paprika). Considered as the finest paprika powder in Spain, it is indispensable for many types of Spanish sausages, such as chorizo, and typical Spanish foods, such as paellas. This type of paprika is made in the fertile alluvial soils around the Tietar River in La Vera where the climate is mild and the rain is plentiful. This product is marketed in three varieties: sweet and mild; bittersweet medium hot and hot.
- Cerezas del Jerte (Jerte picota Cherry). A variety of cherry which is native to the Valle del Jerte. This cherry is the most appreciated one for its taste and high quality.
- Roscas de alfajor (bagel). A traditional bagel characterized by a taste contrast :salty (dough) and sweet (honey) .
- Cava de Extremadura. One of the best Spanish cava POD.
- Licor de Bellota (Acorn liqueur). A liquor produced from acorns, and known as the most representative liquor of Extremadura. There are even bottles that carry an acorn in its interior to differentiate it.
- Patatera. A typical product from Extremadura, patatera is a sausage composed by lean meat and fat from Iberian pigs and baked potatoes seasoned with salt, pimentón de la Vera (paprika), garlic and sugar. It can be spicy or sweet.
- Bombón de higo (Chocolate covered fig). A treat for chocolate lovers. This product is typical of Extremadura and, more specifically, of a village of Cáceres called Almoharín. It is made with dried figs dipped in a delicious dark chocolate cream.