The north of Extremadura, a region in Spain located west of Madrid and close to the border of neighboring Portugal, offers to visitors inside tourism. The visit to museums that no one should go without seeing when here in this wonderful land is an absolute “must do”. This is probably an itinerary that will surprise many, considering that Extremadura is mostly associated with nature, but the historical legacy of this land in no doubt important and it lets itself be manifested through the museums.
The Monastery of Yuste, at La Vera
In itself it is a complete museum that transports us to the history of Charles V, the Emperor. He was the most powerful man of the world during his time. He chose this Hieronymite monastery for the end of his days. Today it is place that is part of the National Heritage. It is located in the heart of the La Vera District of Spain, at a place called Cuacos de Yuste. The visit allows us to imagine the King resting on an easy chair, when the gout made him place his legs high above because of the pain. Yuste is where he died in 1558.
The Museum of the cherry at the Valley or River Jerte
To say cherries, in Spain, is to say Valle del Jerte. Around the growing of cherries developed of one those museums know as identity museums (Museos de Identidad) of Extremadura. The visitor can learn all about the care of the cherries, a knowledge that here in Extremadura has been passed from one generation to the other, thus becoming a reference in this community. The museum is located at Cabezuela del Valle, and it belongs to the Town House of this village. It is placed in a building of the Hondón Street, which is considered representative of the local architecture. This is a must stop when going through road N-110 in Spain.
The Pérez Comendador-Leroux, Museum of Hervás
This museum is a compulsory stop when traveling through the Via de la Plata (the Silver Way). The exhibit will allow you to share the life of hervalesse artist Enrique Pérez Comendador and his wife Magdalena Leroux. They were representative of the Belle Époque. Both were born at the beginning of the XIX Century. Along the rooms of this museum the visitor will find most of the sculptures produced by this artist during his lifetime and also, the paintings of his wife. The museum also sponsors temporary exhibits for other extremeño artist. The building that houses this museum dates back to the XVIII century.
Centro de documentación, at Las Hurdes (visitors center)
This place is not quite a museum; in fact there is a whole chain of visitors centers in this area. However, the one located at Pinofranqueado, is the only one with a regular schedule. The other centers only open to the public upon demand. Furthermore, here, at this museum, we can summarize a like voyage the whole culture of the district of Las Hurdes including the memorable trip of King Alphonse XIII in 1922, as well as the documentary of this trip, Tierra sin pan (Land without bread) done by Buñuel, that made the trip everlasting.
Casa Museo Gabriel y Galán at Tierra de Granadilla
The poet par excellence of Tierras de Granadilla is José María Gabriel y Galán. Born in Salamanca, around the year 1870, his life journey as a teacher lead him to many places, and after he retired at Guijo de Granadilla and lived at his wife’s family’s estate, until 1905, when he died. Today the house is the seat of the museum in his honor. The guided tour of the museum is free and is coordinated by members of the municipal house of culture. It must be booked in advance.
The olive oil museum, at Sierra de Gata
The village Robledillo de Gata is on itself a place worth visiting because of its historical legacy. Very interesting is the olive oil mill, of medieval origin. This is a press that is hydraulic and has been restored by two brothers. The name of the mill is Molino del Medio (Middle Mill) and the visit includes the possibility of tasting different types of olive oil, after the tour of its installations while receiving all kinds of knowledge on the production of what is considered liquid gold. This museum is the owner of a National Prize for the promotion and diffusion of the culture of olives, and the possibility of experiencing an old olive mill.
The Catedral Museum of Coria
Very famous is the exhibit that houses the tablecloth that is believe to be used during the Last Supper. This was also shown at the exhibit of LAS EDADES DEL HOMBRE (AGES OF MEN) placed in an urn of silver with the distinctive emblem of the Museum of Sacred Art of Coria. The photographic reproduction in actual life size of this cloth can be seen at the dressing quarters of the priests of this museum. NASA scientists believe in the veracity of this enigmatic relic and have drawn similarities between this and the Sacred Shroud of Turin. This museum also houses such special items as the Bible used by Saint Peter of Alcantara or the Royal Privileges issued by King Alphonse X The Wise (king of Castile d. 1284). All this can be seen at a Cathedral that dates back to the XVI Century, but has rooms as old as the XIII century. This building is a real jewel that belongs to the Dioceses of Coria-Caceres.
Ethnographic Museum of Serradilla, at Monfragüe
The ethnographic legacy exhibited by this museum is not only important because of its cultural value but also, because some the objects shown have been donated by the local population to maintain alive the historical memory of this area. The visitors can view antique artifacts that were used primarily for agricultural purposes but also, notebooks that are samples of the famous Raya method. They were used, by many of the older people to learn how to read and write. And you might ask the reason why they are exhibited at this place? Their creators Angel Rodriguez Álvarez a teacher from the Sierra, wrote the method and they were printed by another Serrano, Agustín Sánchez Rodrigo at the Editorial Sánchez Rodrigo de Serradilla.
The Catedral Museum of Plasencia
The modern, well illuminated, rooms that are exquisitely organized surprise visitors. They are next to the cloister of the Old Cathedral, a uniquely magnificent building of Romanic transitional architecture. Many items are exhibited from the XIII to the XVII centuries, among them those signed by a famous artist called Divino Morales, such as an altarpiece made out of Talavera Ceramics and a XIII century Virgin Mary made from wood and plated in silver. The rest of the visit allows you to appreciate the Torre de Melón (Melon tower) located in the Chapter Room. Also, visit the New Cathedral, which is actually the same building, and has wonderful works of art, such as the Main Altar made by Gregorio Fernández and painted by Francisco Ricci, the chorus and the magnificent ashlars. This section of the Cathedral has a plateresque façade in contrast to the Romanesque façade of the older part. The Cathedral can now be visited with the help of an audio guide phones, available for rental in many languages.
Concha Foundation, at Navalmoral de la Mata
Devoted to the spirit of Antonio Concha y Cano, the founder of this museum, He was a person dedicated to education and teaching. The archeological museum is a real mine to learn the evolution of the Campo Arañuelo, which is a district in Extremadura, Spain at the province of Caceres. The exhibits go back to the Paleolithic period. When he died in 1882, this great man said that the museum is dedicated to the conservation and dissemination of the historical legacy of the district. Thus, this museum is among the oldest and most respected institutions in Extremadura.
Original article by Merche R. Rey
Translated by Susana Windt
Published in November, 2015