Cáceres (province)


Cáceres (province)

Cáceres is a province of western Spain, in the northern part of the autonomous community of Extremadura. It is bordered by the provinces of Salamanca, Ávila, Toledo, and Badajoz, and by Portugal.

Its capital is the city of Cáceres. Other cities in the province include Plasencia and Trujillo, the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro González. See also List of municipalities in Cáceres.

411,531 people (2007) live in Cáceres, of whom one-fifth live in the capital.

History

The origins of Cáceres go back to prehistoric times, as evidenced by the paintings in the Cuevas de Maltravieso (Maltravieso Caves) which date back to the late Paleolithic period. Visitors can see remains from medieval times, the Roman occupation, Moorish occupation and Jewish influences. Cáceres has four main areas to be explored: the historical quarter, the Jewish quarter, the modern center, and the outskirts.

As mentioned above, the first evidence of humans living in Caceres is from the Late Paleolithic era, around 25,000 B.C. Cáceres started to gain importance as a strategic city under Roman occupation, and remains found in the city suggest that it was a thriving center as early as 25 BC Some remains of the first wall built around the city by the Romans in the third and fourth centuries still exist, including one gateway, the Arco del Cristo.

After the end of the Roman Empire, the city was occupied by Germanic tribes - the Visigoths - and entered a period of decline and decay until the Arabs conquered Cáceres in the eighth century. The city spent the next few centuries mostly under Arab rule, although power alternated several times between Moors and Christians. During this time, the Arabs rebuilt the city, including a wall, palaces, and various towers, including the Torre de Bujaco. Cáceres was reconquered by the Christians in the 13th century. During this period the city had an important Jewish quarter: in the 15th century when the total population was 2,000, nearly 140 Jewish families lived in Cáceres. The Jewish population was expelled by Queen Isabella and Ferdinand of Aragon in 1492, but many remains can still be seen today in the Barrio San Antonio, evidence of Jewish influences during this period.

Cáceres flourished during the Reconquista and the Discovery of America, as influential Spanish families and nobles built homes and small palaces there, and many members of families from Extremadura participated in voyages to America where they made their fortunes. In the 19th century, Cáceres became the capital of the province, marking a period of growth which was halted by the Spanish Civil War. The headquarters of the University and several regional government departments are to be found in Cáceres, which today has a population of 90,000 inhabitants.

Monuments

Cathedrals and Churches: Iglesia y Convento de San Pablo, XV Century church and convent; Convento de la Compañía de Jesus barroque style which today is used for art exhibitions; Iglesia yConcatedral de Santa María, cathedral built in XXIII, Gothic period; Iglesia de San Mateo, XV Century church built on the site of a former mosque; Iglesia de San Francisco Javier, Baroque period, XVIII century; Iglesia de San Juan, large majestic church which took five centuries to complete, from 13th to 15th Century; Ermita de San Antonio Iglesia de Santo Domingo; Ermita de la Paz; Iglesia de Santiago

The Wall: Torre de Bujaco XIIc; Arco de la Estrella XVIIIc; Torre de Sande, XIVc-XVc; Torre de los Púlpitos; Torre de la Hierba; Arco de Santa Ana; Torre del Horno; Torre del Postigo; Torre Redonda; Torre Desmochada; Arco del Cristo; Arco del Socorro

Palaces and stately homes: Palacio de los Golfines de Arriba; Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo - one of the most spectacular. The Reyes Católicos, Isabella and Ferdinand, lived here; Palacio del Comendador de Alcuescar; Palacio-Fortaleza de los Torreorgaz, today a Parador hotel, Palacio Episcopal; Palacio de Carvajal XVc; Palacio de Godoy; Palacio de Mayoralgo; Mansión de los Sande; Palacio de las Veletas; Palacio de los Cáceres-Ovando; Casa del Mono; Palacio de los Toledo-Moctezuma; Casa del Sol; Casa Mudejar; Casa de Carvajal y Ulloa.


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