El Aleznal

Places of Interest

Trujillo

10 minutes away

The old town of Trujillo is only at a distance of 12 and a half kilometres from El Aleznal. It has an outstanding and very unspoilt historical town centre, which is also very lively with many shops, restaurants and bars.

Narrow streets lead from the main road up the hill towards the main square and, beyond that, to the castle.

The main square or Plaza Mayor has a number of first-class historical buildings, including the renaissance palace built by the brother of the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro on his return from Peru. The large coat of arms on the façade, showing his family arms surrounded by a string of natives chained round the neck, is opposite a superb bronze equestrian statue of the conqueror by the American sculptor Charles Cary Rumsey. There are duplicates of the statue in Lima, Peru, and Buffalo, USA.

The church of San Martín, which has a magnificent 18th-century organ that is still in use, is next to the palace of the Dukes of San Carlos, descendants of the famous chronicler Dr Lorenzo Galíndez de Carvajal (1472-1525), who served the Catholic Kings and the Emperor Charles V. The palace -in which the present-day Dukes still have an apartment- is now a convent and is open to the public. It has a beautiful patio with arches.

The palace of Francisco de Orellana, the first European to navigate the entire length of the Amazon in 1541-42, is close to the plaza.

Beyond the imposing tower house of Luis Chaves and through the arch in the old city walls is the 13th century church of Santa Maria, which has a very beautiful altarpiece and a stone font which the famous 15th-century soldier Diego García de Paredes, known as the Extremaduran Samson, reputedly tore out to take -filled with holy water- to his mother who was ill and which took six men to put back in place. His remains are buried in the church.

The castle is in the upper part of Trujillo and was occupied by the Arabs until Ferdinand III of Castile reconquered the town in 1232.

The town holds a Cheese Festival in May, at which it is possible to buy Spanish, Portuguese and French cheese and, of course, also the many varieties of local Extremaduran cheeses, such as the famous semi-liquid Torta del Casar. One of the most popular festivals of the year -the Chíviri- starts on Easter Sunday and is one of the occasions when the town people wear their traditional regional costumes. Stalls selling food and drink are set out in the square and dancing usually lasts until late into the night.

Trujillo
GPS: 39º.460540, -5º.881453 Add-To-TomTom

Cáceres

20 minutes away

The provincial capital of Cáceres is 29 miles (46 Km) west from Trujillo and has a totally unspoilt walled city centre. Originally a Roman city, but built on a site that has been occupied since prehistoric times, the city was conquered by the Arabs in the 8th century and only permanently restored to Christian rule in the 13th century. There are still traces of the Arab past such as the 12th-century tower of Bujaco or Abú-Jacob on the main square.

The busy shopping district extends down from the modern Paseo de Cánovas avenue towards the Plaza Mayor and the entrance to the old walled town. The latter has fortunately been preserved and is one of the most spectacular old city centres in Spain, making it a favourite venue for film-makers. Cáceres was always an important place of residence for the local nobility, made evident by its extraordinary number of palaces and towers, including those of the Solis-Carvajal family, of the Counts of Adanero and of the Counts of Canilleros. The Spanish descendants of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II owned the Palacio de Toledo-Moctezuma, which now houses the Provincial Historical Archives. Among the churches, the Co-Cathedral of St Mary has a spectacular altar piece and an image of Christ known as El Cristo Negro which is taken out during the Easter-week processions.

There are a large number of restaurants including Atrio, long considered one of Spain’s best restaurants, El Figón which specialises in traditional local fare, El Puchero on the main square, or the spectacular Torre de Sande, in one of the palaces in the older part of the city. The local cuisine includes caldereta (lamb stew), migas (fried breadcrumbs) and a wide range of pork-based dishes.

Womad, a festival of music, the arts and dance is held in the Plaza Mayor, usually in the first or second week of May.

Caceres
GPS: 39º.475156, -6º.371438 Add-To-TomTom

Monfragüe National Park

30 minutes away

The National Park at Monfragüe is a must for nature-lovers, especially on account of the variety of its bird life. Binoculars are essential to enjoy the impressive sight of circling eagles, vultures and storks at the Salto del Gitano, one of the best viewing points. The Park covers an area of 45,000 acres.

The landscape is the typical Extremaduran Dehesa, studded with holm oak and other Mediterranean vegetation. Spring is an especially good time to visit, both to avoid the strong summer heat and to enjoy the vast expanses of blooming wild flowers.

The medieval walled town of Plasencia is only 15 km from the Park. The 15th century Convent of Santo Domingo is currently a Parador and is adjacent to the palace of the Marqueses de Mirabel, the grandest of the many aristocratic houses in the town.

Monfragüe
GPS: 39º.847380, -6º.030650 Add-To-TomTom

El Aleznal · N-521 Trujillo-Cáceres Km 13.200
© 2006 · Last update: Sunday, April 6, 2008