Extremadura introduction

Extremadura is a community that offers visitors a spectacular setting with numerous scenic beauty sites such as the Monfragüe National Park and monumental cities such as Trujillo, Cáceres and Mérida.

Trujillo

The city of Trujillo (above) is, as every tourist has read, the birthplace of Pizarro who led the conquest on horseback down from Panama along the coasts of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. His is the imposing warrior monument dominating the Plaza Mayor. Few however know that the proud conquistador mounting a horse of beautiful proportions, was originally meant to represent Hernan Cortes, another famous conqueror, as gift to the Mexicans. Mexico turned down the neocolonialist statue which was conveniently rebaptised as Pizarro and offered to the town of Lima where its copy is now adorning its Plaza Mayor.

Actually, Trujillo was first built by the Romans. Though it is set on a hilltop, its water supply was guaranteed by undercurrent water flows originating in the Sierra of Guadalupe (70kms away). Arabs fortified the place during their century long occupation, as its impressive wall structures still testify. The 13th century Christian invaders from the North gradually took hold of similar fortresses in their gradual takeover of Southern Spain.

“By the time the artists had arrived, the skies above Trujillo were alive with lesser kestrels, swifts and swallows and the white storks had young in their nests” (Nick Hammond in “The flight of the Cranes”, inspired by the “Artists for Nature Foundation”)

National Park of Monfrague

Among the striking features of Extremadura’s natural resources and touristic attractions are the National Park of Monfrague (50 kms North of Trujllo), the medieval Palaces of Caceres, and the Roman monuments of Merida, all at an hour and a half distance from Finca Santa Marta.

The western province of Extremadura is no longer associated with poverty and isolation. Though it lacks an industrial infrastructure, its agro-industrial growth is keeping pace with the increasing popularity of its natural authenticity. Birdwtachers in particular have strengthened Extremadura’s fame.

Guadalupe

The municipality of Guadalupe, in the region of Las Villuercas (Cáceres), houses the Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, declared a World Heritage site in 1993. The monastery began to be built in 1340 by order of Alfonso XI after observing the state in which the Hermitage was erected previously in the same place.

Read more at the following guides:  Crossbill, Lonely Planet, and also the book by Gisela Radant Wood, a brilliant description of walking routes in the area: Walking in Extremadura.