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Trujillo

  • View of Trujillo. Cáceres © Turespaña

    View of Trujillo. Cáceres © Turespaña

  • Trujillo Castle. Cáceres © Turespaña

    Trujillo Castle. Cáceres © Turespaña

  
Trujillo
Cáceres, Extremadura
Cáceres

Trujillo, located between the bottoms of the Tojo and Guadiana rivers, contains an important group of churches, castles and manor houses that are centred around the Plaza Mayor square and which are declared Property of Cultural Interest. Also, this Cáceres city has left an important mark on history: since in the 16th century it was the cradle of illustrious characters linked to the discovery of America. For this reason, Trujillo falls fully within the Route of the Conquistadors, which includes other localities in Extremadura like Medellín, Villanueva de la Serena or Jerez de los Caballeros. Also, Monfragüe National Park, one of the most important protected spaces in Extremadura, spreads a few kilometres north of Trujillo and offers an extraordinary landscape of woods, meadows, and ponds.

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The origins of Trujillo go back to the primitive settlement of Turgalium. After been occupied by Romans and Visigoths, Trujillo remained under Arab rule for more than five hundred years, period in which the city experienced remarkable development. It would later fall into Christian hands, after been conquered by King Fernando III in 1232, although it was King Juan II who recognised Trujillo as a city in 1430.In the 16th century, Trujillo would experience great splendour, given its important role in the Discovery of America. The city was the birthplace of two famous conquerors: Francisco de Pizarro, who discovered Peru and Francisco de Orellana. It was also the birthplace of other illustrious figures like Friar Jerónimo de Loaísa, the first bishop of Cartagena de Indias and Nuflo de Chaves, who discovered Bolivia.

The city

The city is structured around the monumental main square, or Plaza Mayor, dominated by an equestrian bronze statue of Pizarro. For centuries, this square has been at the heart of all social and commercial life in this town, hosting street markets, holiday celebrations and all kinds of shows. In the 16th century, it became a stately square, since conquerors and noble families began to build around it their mansions and palaces.

The church of San Martín, built between the 14th and 16th century, was erected in this square. The temple, with one nave and orgive vaults, has in its interior several Renaissance side-chapels.

Next to this church is the Palace of the Duke of San Carlos, from the 16th century. This building exhibits a corner balcony and the coat of arms of the Vargas-Carvajal family. Behind the main façade, a square, classical courtyard is concealed, with two levels of arches and Tuscan columns.

The Palace of the Marquis of Piedras Albas is another noble house that faces the square. This Renaissance mansion, built by Pedro Suárez de Toledo, contains the porches popularly known as "del pan" (bread porches) and three segmental arches.

Another remarkable building in this area is the Palace of the Marquis of the Conquest, or Shield. This palace was commissioned by Hernando Pizarro in 1570. The façade has a corner balcony with plateresque ornaments and balustrades. All of it crowned by the coat of arms of Francisco Pizarro.

Lining the cobbled streets that begin at the square, there are ancestral homes like the old Casa del Peso Real, or Palace of Chaves-Cárdenas, a Gothic building with Renaissance elements and the Palace of Juan Pizarro de Orellana, from the 16th century. The latter belonged to the first chief magistrate of the Peruvian city of Cuzco and was transformed into a Renaissance palace after being the fortress-home of Diego de Vargas. The building has a plateresque courtyard in its interior.

The Alcázar of Altamiranos, also known as Alcazarejo, was erected by Fernán Ruiz in the 13th century. Note its sixteenth-century main front, flanked by two towers whose tops where destroyed and graced by the Altamiranos coat of arms.

Religious Architecture

Trujillo's historic quarter has two remarkable churches: the church of Santa María la Mayor and the church of Saint James, both from the Middle Ages. The temple of Santa María is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Romanesque art in Trujillo. The building, erected on top of an old Arab mosque, has several medieval fronts and a Late Romanesque tower. In the interior you can see gorgeous orgive vaults, which crown a structure of three naves and a Gothic reredos made by Fernando Gallego in 1480, considered the best one in the whole of Extremadura.

The church of Saint James, located next to the city gates known by the same name, was built in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 15th and 17th. From the primitive construction, a semicircular apse remains and a tower. The building cherishes a Romanesque image of Our Lady of the Crowning and the image of the Christ of Waters, from the 14th century.

The Arab castle (tenth century) was built during the period of greatest splendour of the Caliphate of Cordoba. It has two gorgeous towers and two underground reservoirs in the parade ground. On the southern side of the bastion is the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Victory, patron saint of the city.

To finish your journey around the city, visit the Museum of Coria, located in the old convent of San Francisco el Real. The precinct narrates the most important events in the Discovery of the New World.

It is also recommended to visit Trujillo during its most important holiday celebration, the traditional Chíviri. It takes place every Easter Sunday in the main square, or Plaza Mayor and has been declared a Holiday of Tourist Interest.

Gastronomy and the Outskirts

Many of Trujillo's most representative dishes are typical of the whole region of Extremadura. Iberian pork products are excellent in this area, as well as shepherd recipes, such as caldereta (a type of stew made with lamb or suckling lamb), migas (breadcrumbs with Spanish sausage and bacon), etc. You must not forget the delicious asparagus soup, bean soup, or the traditional gazpacho and ajoblanco (cold soups).

Trujillo's cuisine includes local products like Swiss chard, wild asparagus and truffles. Among the most famous desserts are toasted cream and sweet stuffed eggs. All these dishes go very well with the excellent wines with the label Designation of Origin-Ribera del Guadiana.

Many of these traditional recipes can be tried at the Parador de Trujillo, located in the old monastery of Santa Clara. It is a sixteenth-century convent that preserves two beautiful cloisters, one of them from the Renaissance.

Trujillo is on the first stretch of the Conquerors' Route, which got its name because it travels around the places where the most significant explorers from the Discovery of America were born. This route goes deep into the province of Badajoz, passing the towns of Medellín, Villanueva de la Serena and Badajoz, to end at Jerez de los Caballeros.

Forests, rocky areas and meadows washed by the waters of rivers, pools and reservoirs are contained in the Monfragüe National Park, a few kilometres north of Trujillo. Around this area you can also visit picturesque towns surrounded by a beautiful scenery, like Montánchez, located on the sierra by the same name and Alhuéscar, which sits among holm-oak woods and cork-oak forests.

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