Monumental Cáceres

The city of Cáceres proudly boasts one of the best conserved old town settlements in Spain and it’s largely thanks to that, that it continues to transmit a true flavour of the Middle Ages to all of those who pay this charming city a visit. The view from the vantage point at the Bujaco Tower treats us to one of the most representative images of the city’s urban landscape and historic centre. When we venture inside the city walls, we are greeted by winding stone streets, sprinkled with palaces, churches and fortified towers which lend the city its identity. A space reserved for only those of the finest and most noble lineage proudly flaunts the family coat of arms on its walls. The Hernando de Ovando Palace is one of the most noble buildings which form part of the Saint María Square. Pedigree lineage indeed, as one family member was named Governor of the Indias by the Catholic Kings. The Mayoralgo Palace, the oldest in the city, would found Cáceres’ first primogeniture; while the palace-fortress of the Golfines de Abajo proudly displays the coat of arms of the Catholic Kings and reminds us that it was here that they stayed during both of their visits to Cáceres. The Saint María Church, the biggest and most important in Cáceres, co-cathedral together with the Church of Coria, was erected after the city was conquered by Castilian king Alfonso IX in the 13th Century. Caceres’ Arab footprint can be found at the Veletas Palace, which today houses Cáceres’ museum. It was constructed on what was probably a Muslim fortress. The water deposit is good proof of that and is one of the most important constructions of its type in the Peninsula. This building houses the archeology and ethnography sections while the Fine Arts section is contained within the House of the Horses. The only remaining tower not to have been demolished inside the city walls, that belonging to the Stork Palace, welcomes us into San Mateo Square. This tower was allowed to conserve the original battlements as a gesture to its owner, Captain Diego de Ovando for his contribution in helping Queen Isabella of Castile in her battle for the throne with her sister, Juana the Beltraneja. There are more than a thousand coats of arms and family crests emblazoned on the facades of the city’s palaces and many have a story to tell. That of the Solís House (escudo) gives a reminder of from where the noble lineage derives, while the crest adorning the Eagle House gained the Flor de Lys from the King of France. Caceres holds much more in store for the visitor than appearances might first indicate – it is a city of legends, intrigue and magic waiting to be discovered.