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Extremadura, the land of "Conquistadores", is an autonomous community bordering Portugal and made up of the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz. Its major cities are Cáceres, Badajoz, Mérida, Plasencia and Don Benito.
None have more than 150,000 inhabitants. Indeed, this is a sparsely populated region with only 24.5 inhabitants per square kilometre. The climate is continental and consists of temperate winters and hot summers.
The major activity is agriculture, though there is also an important crafts industry in cork, leather, copper and wood. Gastronomy The province boasts a great variety of fish and game: boar, red deer, Spanish ibex, pheasant, bustard, heron, crane, a lot of partridge and rabbit; and in the rivers, carp, tench, trout, pike and perch.
Game and fish provide the basis for an uncomplicated way of cooking, which is very tasty with many recipes coming from its important monasteries. Especially outstanding are el frite, la caldereta (a lamb stew) and the typical migas con torreznos.
To round off this list of specialties, special mention must be made of the famous Montánchez hams and sausage products. These go down very well with local wines such as pitarra.
History This region was colonised three thousand years ago by a number of peoples including the Celts, who left a number of artistic and monumental legacies. They were followed by the Carthaginians and Romans who turned it into one of their provinces under the name of “Hispana Ulterior Lusitana”, with the capital at Augusta Emerita – present day Mérida.
Other cities founded during this time include Caesarina (Cáceres) and Metellium (Medellín); here we can find the temples theatres, amphitheatres, aqueducts, bridges and other constructions left by the Romans. Centuries later it was conquered by the Moors under the leadership of Muza and incorporated into the territory of Al-Andalus.
Following the reconquest and the driving out of the Arabs by Alfonso IX in 1230, it gained its current name as well as fame for the great number of conquistadors it produced and the military orders that made their base here. In 1983 Extremadura gained its autonomous status.
Fiestas Many people feel that the Carnavales are among the best fiestas in Spain, being only surpassed by those of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Cádiz. The Tuesday of the Carnaval festivities is a local holiday.
The Feria de San Juan is celebrated on 24th June. During the fair stands are erected, there are many types of sporting competitions, art exhibitions and an International Folk Festival.
Monuments Monuments not to be missed in Badajoz include the Alcazaba: the walls and battlement towers that enclosed this vast fortress have survived the passing of the centuries and are virtually intact, the cathedral, which is fortress like the 17th century San Andrés church and the Puerta de las Palmas, one of the most beautiful gateways in the city walls which is made up of two circular turrets.
Caceres - Popular traditions are best observed in the large number of "romerías" - festive excursions to a saint's shrine - and in the regional costumes which are sober for men, but very colourful for women, especially the skirts and flowery kerchiefs and, above all, the rich, multi-coloured hat of braided straw, from Montehermoso.
Cáceres was declared World Heritage City in 1985. Sober, seigniorial and proud, it lies in the heart of this conquistador homeland and is one of the best medieval and renaissance examples in the world. It is blessed with a labyrinth of medieval streets and plazas, churches, beautiful convents and amazing palaces
Largely medieval, the town walls date from the time of the Almohads and even preserve some Roman sections. Twelve of the thirty towers which once protected the enclosure are still standing.
If Spain had anything akin to the American Far West, it must have been Extremadura - the land beyond the River Duero - the area that gave birth to so many doughty Conquistadores.Trujillo, is one of the most attractive towns in Extremedura, much of it untouched since the 16th century.
This is the land of Francisco Pizarro, who conquered Peru and Orellana, who discovered the Amazon. Coria is a town surrounded by solid Roman walls, with an interesting castle and pretty cathedral that is approached from the north.
It lies on a rich fertile plain amidst tobacco and cotton plantations. Plasencia lies on the banks of the Jerte. This is another town of monumental sights reminiscent of past grandeur, with small picturesque streets, aristocratic palaces, two cathedrals and a hunting museum.
The nearby Yuste Monastery cannot be left out on a visit. It was the last home of Emperor Carlos I of Spain and is breathtakingly austere.
Hotel Boutique e Romântico em Extremadura
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Hotel e Pousada Bonita em Extremadura
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