Religious heritage in Extremadura finds a way to create tourism

Extremadura offers to share a rich religious heritage for tourist looking for cultural jewels such as the Monastery of Guadalupe, a World Heritage Site, where Christopher Columbus prayed to the Virgin before leaving Spain for the Discovery of America. A place steeped in history, the epicenter of this route of religious tourism in Extremadura. This is a region in Spain that is just west of Madrid and extends to the border of Portugal.

The monastery of Guadalupe

The Monastery of Guadalupe is the second most frequent pilgrimage place in Spain after “Santiago de Compostela”. Guadalupe is also in a unique natural environment, which is the Geopark Villuercas, Ibores and Jara. Its Gothic façade, its Mudejar cloister and the temple are famous.

Famous baptismal piles for discoveres from Extremadura

The Lady of Guadalupe travelled to America with Christopher Columbus and now is Patroness of Mexico and constitutes a legend in this Latin American country. The discoverer and conqueror of Mexico was Hernán Cortés, who was baptized in the church of San Martín de Medellin in Extremadura.  You can also visit the church of Saint Bartholomew in Jerez de los Caballeros, where another Conquistador, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, was baptized.

Tower of the church of Saint Bartholomew, in Jerez de los Caballeros

The Yuste Monastery

For the history of Europe, the Yuste Monastery is a special place. This is where Emperor Charles V lived after his retirement and died surrounded by undisturbed nature in the privileged region of the North of Extremadura.  Also, on your way to Yuste we recommend a visit to the German Cemetery of Guacos de Yuste, unique in Spain, where the remains of almost two hundred German soldiers are buried, who died in the two World Wars.

The footprints of Zurbarán at Fuente de Cantos

In “Fuente de Cantos” you can visit the interpretation center of Zurbarán, one of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age. There are also Zurbarán painting to be found at the “Colegiata de la Candelaria de Zafra y Llerena” (Collegiate Church of our Lady of the Candelaria in Zafra and Llerena), where this famous artist from Extremadura had his workshop.

Extremadura by Divino Morales

The region can also be visited by enjoying the paintings of Divino Morales, another illustrious painter from Extremadura.   Outstanding is his work at the “Iglesia de la Asunción” (the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption) in “Arroyo de la Luz”. But also visit the “Museo de la Ciudad de Luis Morales” (Museum of the City of Luis Morales) in Badajoz, the Church of Saint Martin in Plasencia and the Church of Saint Martin of Trevejo in Sierra de Gata; Saint Mary of Almocóvar in Alcántara; “Rocamador de Valencia de Alcántara” in La Raya, which borders with Portugal; “Higuera la Real” and “Barcarrota”.

El Palancar, the smallest convent in the world, where Saint Peter of Alcántara, slept sitting on a stone

Palancar, the smalleste convent in the world

Extremadura also has the smallest convent in the world, the Convent of Palancar, founded in person by Saint Peter of Alcántara, in the small village of “Pedroso de Acím”. This is the place where the Saint slept sitting on a stone and resting his head on the trunk of a tree, being that the place was so small. The convent is a symbol of contemplative life in the middle of the pasture land of Extremadura.

The Christ of Serradilla, The “Cristu Benditu”

Also, venerated in Extremadura is the Christ of Serradilla, the “Santo Cristo de la Victoria”. Popularly, they call the image Cristu Benditu, which is in a sort of dialect.  Until the XVII Century this image of Christ was is the Royal Palace in Madrid. Various and multiple miracles are attributed to this polychrome Christ who is standing embracing a large cross stepping on a skull. Serradilla is in the north of Extremadura in the Province of Cáceres.

The site off a legend, the Monastery Tentudía

The Monastery of Tentudía is a mythical place that received its name based on a legend. During the Spanish war against the Muslim domination of the Iberian Peninsula, the Christians, during a battle, prayed to the Virgin Mary to stop the day in order to win a battle against the Arabs before the sun set. The miracle was granted and in gratitude for the favor, they built a monastery on the highest peak of the province of Badajoz.

The tablecloth of the last supper, a mystery held by the Cathedral of Coria

It is believed that the Cathedral of Coria keeps an important relic, which is a piece of the Tablecloth that was used during the Last Supper. NASA scientists have certified similarities between this cloth and the cloth of the Holy Shroud of Turin. A mystery that is worth seeing in this building, which is a jewel, shared as a diocese with the city of Cáceres. This is a World Heritage Site, where the statue of Saint Peter of Alcántara welcomes visitors.

Plasencia, the city of the two cathedrals

Not one, but two are the Cathedrals in the city of Plasencia. Very religious people lived in this city during the whole of the Middle Ages. The Tower of the Melon, comparable with those of Salamanca, Zamora and the Collegiate of Toro and the choir stalls with erotic images are some of the jewels of these beautiful buildings.

The basilica of the martyr Saint Eulalie in Mérida

Also in the Middle Ages, the Basilica of Saint Eulalie of Mérida was a place of pilgrimage as the first Christian Temple built after the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine.  On the other hand the Cathedral of Saint Mary, in the same city of Extremadura, in the middle of many Roman remains, was probably the first headquarter of Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula.

The cathedral of Badajoz

The Cathedral of Badajoz is a Christian monument in a city with rich Arab legacy that also has artistic influences from Portugal.

The church of La Magdalena de Olivenza, Best Corner of Spain 2012

The church of La Magdalena de Olivenza, the first “Best corner of Spain”

Saint Mary Magdalene of Olivenza is the church where the Portuguese Manueline style is best depicted in Extremadura. The columns of this church stand out and seem to evoke a ship.

The emblematic tower of Llerena

Beautiful Llerena, also know as the Athens of Extremadura, holds treasures such as the emblematic tower of the Our Lady of Granada Church, built on an Arab mosque. It consists of five bodies made in bricks topped with a balustrade terrace topped with four turrets.

The town of the hermitages called Ceclavín

Ceclavín is a small town in the Province of Cáceres, Extremadura, which is a unique destination.  It has a total of ten hermitages that are cared by the villagers and they also show them to tourist by just knocking on their doors.

Original article by Mercedes R. Rey

Translated by Susana Windt

La religión, como turismo, encuentra su patrimonio en Extremadura


planVE la guía de ocio de Extremadura

Published on november2017

@Planveando Comunicaciones SL

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