In the south of Extremadura there is a vast region full of meadows and mountains with a set of historical villages and towns. This land was taken by the Christians from the Moors around the 13th century. The fortresses built by the Moors were extended and renovated by the knights from the Knights Templar and the Order of Santiago, the new owners of these lands.
The starting point of this route, which can be covered in a weekend (it is 160 kilometres long in total) is the town of Zafra. It is the entrance to the southern mountain ranges in Badajoz and has an urban design, built around the Chica and Grande squares, which are medieval.
It has preserved three gates from the medieval walls, as well as the Alcázar-palace of the Dukes of Feria, a Gothic-Renaissance building (15th-16th centuries), currently a Parador Hotel. The Convent of Santa Clara (16th-17th centuries) and the Collegiate Church of La Candelaria (15th century) are also worth visiting.
The following stop on our route is Fuente de Cantos, 26 kilometres away. We'll get there on the A-66 motorway (Silver Route). This town is the birthplace of the Baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán and one of the buildings that stands out is the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Granada (15th century).
A secondary road takes us to Montemolín, where the remains of the first castle on this route can be found. It is an Almohad castle (12th century), renovated by the knights of the Order of Santiago after the Reconquest (13th century). Just over 10 kilometres away we find Calera de León, in the heart of the Sierra de Tentudía Mountains. There we'll see the imposing Convent Church of Santiago (15th century), the residence of the freires, the friars of the Order of Santiago, owners of the Monastery of Tentudía. It is a few kilometres away, on the top of the Tentudía peak (the highest in the province of Badajoz). Founded in the 13th century, its Mudejar cloister is an outstanding feature (16th century).
Then we'll head towards Cabeza la Vaca (8 kilometres). With its popular architecture from the mountains and the old bullring (18th century), and towards Segura de León (about 8 kilometres away), with its impressive castle of the Order of Santiago (15th century). A secondary road takes us to Fuentes de León, which is 6 kilometres away, between hills and meadows. In these lands we find the remains of the Castle of El Cuerno, a Moorish castle that was renovated by the Knights Templar and the Order of Santiago (9th-14th centuries).
We'll turn back towards Segura de León, and head towards Fregenal de la Sierra (20 kilometres away), where another amazing castle awaits us - this time a Moorish castle that was donated to the Knights Templar (13th century). It still has its seven old towers which, together with the Church of Santa María and the bullring, form a very picturesque architectural site.
We then continue our route. After about 23 kilometres on the N-430 main road, we'll get to Jerez de los Caballeros. It gets its name from the Knights Templar. They consolidated the Al-Andalus origin citadel inherited after the Reconquest (13th century) and built the walled site that used to protect the town. Some of its many interesting buildings are the Church of San Bartolomé (15th-18th centuries), the Shrine of San Benito and the bullring.
There are two more stops to complete our route: Burguillos del Cerro, a famous historic-artistic site, situated 17 kilometres away, dominated by its Moorish castle that was renovated by the Knights Templar (13th-15th century); and Valencia del Ventoso, to which we'll get after travelling 20 kilometres on a secondary road. This town belonged to the Order of Santiago and an important building here is the so-called Casa Fuerte house, a fortified palace built in the 15th-16th centuries, housing the old government of the Order in this area.
Along the route we'll be able to enjoy the delicious cuisine of Extremadura: Iberian pigs graze vast holm oak groves and produce a series of renowned quality meat products and cured meats.
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Other routes of interest
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