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A walk trough the walls of Extremadura

The historical events have left their mark in Extremadura since the first civilizations settled in our territory.  This autonomous community in Spain treasures numerous defensive constructions that are silent witnesses of the passing of time. These walls formed defensive   lines around a castle and in many cases protected a whole city. In Extremadura it is an experience to visit these monuments and walk on them or along side these magnificent historical constructions.

The wall of Trujillo

One of the most famous defensive walls of recent months is in Trujillo, a beautiful city in Extremadura. They have been shown all over the world thanks to the successful television series “Game of Thrones”.  The Wall of Trujillo has a Muslim origin from which the original layout is preserved. This Wall dates to the 11th Century, even though there was a smaller fortified enclosure of the city, which is even older.

Most of the currently conserved portions of the Wall are a post -Muslim, Christian legacy from the 12th to the 15th Centuries. It was constructed in granite with stone masonry, although in the low areas of the construction and in the corners of the towers we can see the use of ashlars. When walking through the historic center of Trujillo we can follow the course of the Wall in serpentine like fashion and spot the 22 towers and also, four of the original seven doors.

Badajoz and the biggest citadel in Europe

The Wall of Badajoz is just one of the elements that compose a splendid military fortification of the early Middle Ages. The Wall shares prominence with towers, pits, forts and gates. This defensive fortress can be proud of being part of the largest citadel in Europe.

Muralla de Badajoz

The original fortification is of Almohad origin and was ordered by the founder of the city Ibn Marwan. After the re-establishment of the Taifa Kingdom, the Citadel or Alcazaba was built in 1169.  Specifically, the Wall has had various successive extensions. It is easy for a visitor to enjoy the citadel by following the top of the Wall. Access to the citadel can be made by any of the four doors.

The fortification of Plasencia

barbacana plasencia

Barbacana de Plasencia

Plasencia was founded in the 12th Century and this required a defensive wall, thus the origin of the fortification.  It began to be built in 1178 but was not completed until the year 1197.  Although fragments of the wall are now lost, it is believed that the original perimeter was 2.39 kilometers long.  Towers with semicircular floors reinforced the walls and 26 of the original towers are still preserved.  To visit the Wall of Plasencia visitors must stroll through the center of the old city and pass through any of the eight existing doors, gates and wickets. A walks through the barbican is an experience to enjoy, especially at certain times of the year such as on “Martes Mayor” (Major Tuesday).

The muslim wall of Mérida

The fortress in Merida has the shape of a citadel and is the oldest Muslim fortification in the Iberian Peninsula built in the Ninth Century. It is an almost square enclosure of about 550 meters, with walls of about 2.70 meters thick and 10 meters high that are made mostly with granite ashlars reaped from Roman and Visigoth constructions.

The original Merida Wall was from the days of the Roman Empire, when the purpose was to defend the bridge leading to the city from the inside.  In the 5th Century the Visigoths reinforced it and doubled the width of the walls. During the Muslim rule, they completely dismantled the wall and took advantage of much of the material to build the current citadel.

The roman origin of the Cáceres wall

The walled enclosure of Cáceres was erected during the Romans and later reconstructed by the Visigoths, the Muslim and the Christians. Today an important part of the wall still exists but it is difficult to see some sections because it is attached to the surrounding buildings. One of the most interesting parts of the Cáceres Wall is the South or River gate, also known as “Arco del Cristo” (the Arch of Christ). You can also admire several towers along your visit to the Cáceres Wall.  One of the most famous doors is the “Arco de la Estrella” (Arch of the Star), which appears in the seventh season of “Game of Thrones”.

The defensive nature of the wall of Alcántara

The Wall of Alcántara is situated at a strategic location. Visitors can distinguish two different fortifications, now merged into one construction: the Arab citadel and the walled enclosure of modern times. After the “Reconquista”, when Christians were able to recover the land form the Iberian Muslims, in the 15th Century, the walled enclosure was extended and gave rise to the second fortification.

The wall of Jerez de los Caballeros

The Wall of Jerez de los Caballeros has its origin in the old Arab Citadel and was later consolidated by the Christian Order of the Templar. Along its perimeter the visitor will find a number of semicircular towers, many of them have been integrated into current urban landscape. Originally the Wall had six gates or doors, however, only two are visible today.

Galisteo has a wall of pebbles

Worth visiting in Galisteo is its unique Wall made with stones from the Jerte River. It has an irregular layout but adapts to the conditions of the terrain.  The origin of the construction is Almohad, from the time of the Muslim domination, dated to the beginning of the 13th Century.  It underwent numerous reconstructions but the original layout was respected and even today in some section you can see the crenellated top. A visit to the Wall of Galisteo offers a pleasant excursion to enjoy the views of the fertile plains of the Alagón River. The total length of the perimeter of the walled enclosure is 1200 meters.

A portuguese wall in olivenza

Don Dinis, King of Portugal, who restored the walls of the old Templar fortress, built the medieval walled enclosure of Olivenza in the 14th Century. These walls are three meters thick and had a height of twelve meters and were defended by 14 towers. The emblematic keep or “Torre del Homenaje” is 37 meters in height and is the tallest of the fortress towers of the Spanish –Portuguese border. The Wall has two gates; one is called “Alconchel” and the other “los Angeles”.

The village of Granadilla and its almohad wall

Worth visiting the Village of Granadilla in the north of the Province of Cáceres and walking along the top of the Wall to enjoy unparalleled views on the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir. The town that was abandoned in the 60´s of the past Century for the construction of the marsh boasters a Wall of Almohad origin and in good condition.

Original article by Ainhoa Miguel

Translated by Susana Windt

Date un paseo por las murallas de Extremadura

去Extremadura的城墙散个步

planVE la guía de ocio de Extremadura

Published on November 2017

 

A voyage around the castles of Extremadura

Discover the castles of Extremadura, whether they are on extensive meadows full of oak trees or in urban settings.  They are a must stop to view history and imagine all kinds of story -book scenes.

A National Artistic Treasure in “Calera de León”

Legend has it that while Captain Pelay Pérez Correa was battling with the Arabs in the Thirteenth century and the night was approaching, he shouted: “Santa Maria, stop your day” Apparently his plea was answered giving him time to defeat the enemy. In gratitude for the miracle he raised this castle in the middle of the battlefield.

Castillos de Extremadura Tentudía

The Monastery of Tentudia. Photograph by Noelia Pérez

At Calera de Leon, many neighbors say that it was originally built as a fortress, although over time it became the Monastery of Tentudia, one of the best examples of Spanish Mudejar architecture, as declared by Pope Leo X.  Inside the Monastery you can contemplate the altarpiece made by Maestro Niculoso Pisano; the image of the Virgin of Tentudia dating from the 18th Century; and the cloister from the beginning of the 16th Century.

Visiting Hours- Open to the public: From May to October, from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. From November to April, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Closed on Monday.

A Castle with a bullring in Fregenal

The Castle of “Fregenal de la Sierra”  (Fregenal of the Mountain Range) can be considered a castle of the plains.  Historically, King Alphonse X mentioned it in 1283 when built and granted to the Templar.  The political stability of the 16th Century left the Castle abandoned, until the War of Independence, when forced works of remodeling were implemented in its crenellated walls.

Bullfighting ring in the Castle of Fregenal / Photograph by Planvex.es

Along the years, its military function was completely lost and since the end of the XVIII Century it houses a bullfighting ring and also, serves as an open- air market.

Visiting Hours- Open to the public: From September to June, from 10:00 AM to 2:45 PM and from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. From July and August, from 10:00 AM to 2:45 PM and from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

The Castle of Luna in Albuquerque

Don Alvaro de Luna, Master of the Order of Saint James (Orden de Santiago) was one of its main constructors. Also, the Castle is named after this historic person. Its origin dates back to the XV Century and architecturally it is  built around its magnificent tower, called the Tower of Homage (Torre del homenaje) which is five levels high and has an impressive pointed arch that provides access to the upper floors.  In 1933 the Castle was named a National Monument and after the Spanish Civil War it was restored.

Alburquerque castillos de extremadura

The castle of Luna in Albuquerque. Photograph by Eduardo Maya

Visiting Hours- Open to the public: From spring to summer, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM. From autumn to winter, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Closed on Monday.

Unexpected Castle of “Valencia del Ventoso”

The Castle of Valencia del Ventoso is a fortress located inside the town.  Historians claim that this location indicates that in addition to the defensive purposes the Castle was used for civil functions.

At present its principal commitment is to provide the grounds for the celebration of the Medieval Fair of this municipality, every August.  However, its origin is neither defensive nor military. The Commander Rodrigo Cárdenas, a Saint James Knight, started the construction of what was to be his house in 1477.

Valencia del Ventoso castillos de Extremadura

Castle of Valencia del Ventoso. Photograph by Juan Carlos Diaz

A well populated fortress in Medellin

That was the description of Medellin by the Arabs at the beginning of the 10th Century, although the place reaches its greatest splendor in the 15th Century. The Castle of Medellin witnessed many historical events, such as the feud between Doña Beatriz Pacheco, who supported “The Beltraneja”, the unrecognized daughter of King Enrique IV of Castile, with the troops of the Queen of Castile.  In this conflict Pacheco, heir of the Medellin County, required military aid from Portugal. The Castle’s foundation also supported vandalism and attacks form the French, after the battle of Medellin. The significance of these historic events makes the Castle of Medellin, the most representative monument of this region called “Las Vegas Altas”.

castillo de Medellín

Castle of Medellin. Photograph by: Tourist Office

Open to the public: Guided tours, at: 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 19:30 PM and 20:30; every day.

Post Cards from the dehesa (meadows) of Montánchez

The religious Order of the Knights of Saint James, in the Province of Cáceres, was responsible for furnishing and manning the Castle of Montánchez. It was used as a residence for Commanders and other authorities. The outer walls of the Castle have survived during the centuries, and now archeological excavations are being conducted from the cellar of the Castle.  The Castle is depicted in the main photograph of this report and it is an ideal spot to enjoy sunsets over the extensive Extremadura grazing meadows.

A place with defensive characteristic

Raised over an old Arab fortress, the Castle of Trujillo was constructed   between the 9th and 12th Centuries. It was built over the highest elevation of this region in the province of Cáceres. It still conserves two cisterns of the old Arabic palace. The rest is constructed with blocks of granite of ashlar masonry.   Seventeen square towers, of defensive character, surround the Castle. Four of the original seven gates are preserved: Saint Andrew, Saint James, Coria and the gate of the Triumph. As a historical curiosity, Juana the “Beltraneja” took refuge in this castle during her dispute with Queen Isabel I of Castile.

Visiting Hours- Open to the public: From October to May, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. From April to September, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The Castle is open every day, from Sunday to Sunday.

View the valley of river Alagón from Coria

The Castle of Coria is a striking structure that is in the middle of the historic center of the city. It has a Tower of Tribute of a pentagonal plant with a defensive and stately character. It also has a small semicircular tower, which was built in 1472 by the architect Juan Carrera. From its towers you can see the whole city of Coria and much of the Alagón valley.

Castillo de Coria

Castle of Coria. Photograph by Noelia Perez

Granadilla, fortress of the evicted village

Like the houses of Granadilla, Extremadura’s museum village, the Fortress survived the forced abandonment.  This is a predominant building, which imposes its presence as soon as you arrive to the town.  The Duke of Alba, Garcia Alvarez de Toledo and Carrillo, ordered the construction of the Fortress in 1473 and 1478. It consists of a central prismatic body and four semi-cylindrical bodies attached to each of the sides of the central construction.

The Castle of Granadilla is one of the cinema sets chosen by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, for Átame (Tie me up! Tie me down!) The 1990 film is an important production for this famous director.

Visiting Hours- Open to the public: The visiting hours for the Fortress is the same as the visiting schedule for the village of Granadilla. The gate opens from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Historical remains at Mirabel

The magnificent building of the Castle of Mirabel still shows signs of what it was during the Fifteenth Century. Originally, it was one of the fortresses that King Alphonse VIII possessed after the founding of Plasencia.  The Almohad armies destroyed the original building in 1196. Centuries later it was rebuilt, as it became part of the wealth of the Marquis of Mirabel. Vestiges of this remodeling can be freely visited today.

A similar situation happens with the Castle of Portezuelo in the Province Cáceres. Today’s remains are an archetype of the medieval fortress. The origin dates back to the XII Century and has changed hands between Christian and Muslim lords. It is also known as the Castle of Marmionda, because of a legend of a beautiful Moorish princess associated with the site.

planVE, la guía de ocio de Extremadura

Original article by Noelia Pérez

Translated by Susana Windt

Un paseo entre castillos de Extremadura

Um passeio entre os castelos da Estremadura

 Published on July 2017