34 imagestremadura is wedged between the most tourist Castile and Andalusia and missed by many tourists just passing through, but Spanish people, however, know Extremadura as a place to sample some of inland Spain’s best food, roasted meats and the finest jamón (ham). Extremadura is a journey into the heart of old Spain, from the country’s finest Roman ruins to intact medieval cities often included in UNESCO World Heritage, like Mérida, Cáceres, and Trujillo, ranking among Spain's most beautifully preserved historical settlements. This harsh environment was the cradle of the conquistadores who opened up a new world for the Spanish empire, and it was said that the Estremadura created about twenty nations of Latin America. Remote before and forgotten since Extremadura enjoyed a brief golden age when its heroes returned with their gold to live in splendor. Trujillo, the birthplace of Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru, is the most attractive town in Extremadura and can feel truly magical, a classic conquistador stage set of escutcheoned mansions and castle walls virtually untouched since the sixteenth century. Càceres, in many ways remarkably like Trujillo, is an almost extraordinary preserved walled town, the Ciudad Monumental, that survived almost intact from its 16th-century period of splendor. Narrow cobbled streets climb among ancient stone walls lined with mansions, arches, and churches, while the skyline is decorated with turrets, gargoyles, and storks nests. Then there is Mérida, the most completely preserved Roman city in Spain, with a beautiful museum of statues, mosaics, and other Roman artifacts. The small town of Guadalupe, perched up in the sierra to the west of Trujillo, is dominated by the great Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which for five centuries has brought fame and pilgrims to the area. Much of the monastic wealth came from returning conquistadores, and the building is an architectural delight. In the south, Zafra, with the seductive look of an Andalucian Pueblo Blanco (white village), is affectionately labeled 'Sevilla la chica' ('the little Seville'). Its narrow streets are lined with baroque churches and traditionally decorated houses.
114 imagesSPAIN – EXTREMADURA, WHERE FIVE CENTURIES AGO ARE BORN TWENTY LATINOAMERICA NATIONS Extremadura, wedged between the most tourist Castile and Andalusia and missed by many tourists, is the heart of an old Spain with intact medieval cities, but this harsh environment was the cradle of the Conquistadores who exactly five hundred years ago opened up a new world for the Spanish empire, and Europe, and it was said that Extremadura created about twenty nations of Latin America. Trujillo, a UNESCO World Heritage, is the birthplace of Pizarro, the conqueror of the Inca empire in Peru, and Francisco de Orellana, the first European to travel to Rio Amazonas. Still, today is like a movie location untouched since the sixteenth century. The small town of Guadalupe, perched up in the mountains, is dominated by the great Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which for five centuries has brought fame and pilgrims to the area. The famous sanctuary of the same name in Mexico City, protector of the Americas for the Catholic Church, owes the same name because many Conquistadores were faithful to Our Lady of Guadalupe. In Jerez de los Caballeros, a totally white city with the seductive look of an Andalucian town related to the knights Templar who fought the Muslim were born Balboa, the first European to discover the Pacific Ocean, and Hernando de Soto, the first European to travel through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, and also the first European to cross the Mississippi River. In the old town of Plasencia was born Inez Suarez, one of the few women leading the conquistadores, who participated in the Conquest of Chile with Pedro de Valdivia. Remote before and forgotten since Extremadura enjoyed a brief golden age when its heroes returned with their gold to live in splendor. Still, the harshness of life, architecture, food, soul, and traditions of Extremadura have left in Latin America roots more lasting and profound than any other European influence.