Located in the far west of Spain bordering Portugal, which in part continues with the same characteristics, the region of Extremadura is the most rugged and wild, but also the most impoverished and depopulated the country, and therefore also the least known by tourism point of view. Great as an eighth of Italy and one-thirteenth of Spain , with barely a million inhabitants and one of the lowest density of the continent, the land beyond the f iume Duro looks like an undulating rocky plateau – further to the west of the mountains mountains of the Sierras and the Meseta Central Iberian often with peaks over 2,000 m – covered by pastures and forests of cork oaks, holm oaks and chestnut trees, much more suited to a lean sheep farming which, in fact, limited to the production of paprika, tobacco, vine, olive and fruit trees.
In 1932 the great filmmaker Luis Bunuel (1900-1983, Oscar in 1972) I turned Les Hurdes – Tierra sin pan, an anthropological documentary that tells, with all the expressive power of images in black and white, the daily horror of hunger and physical and moral misery of the population reduced to a shell of human malnutrition, deformities, diseases, epidemics and incest, in a land so stony and ungrateful as not to allow even the burial of the dead, where the houses were dirty and unadorned as the stable and the only treasures were hidden in churches and convents. The film, which came fully into the history of cinema, it shocked the few who saw him, so that the censorship forbade the projection as it is considered offensive and derogatory to the dignity of the country. Since then of course many things have changed, but until a certain point, because this Cinderella Iberian remains one of the most backward areas, where many such marriages still take place within the family and the main mode of transportation remains the donkey; on the other hand it produces the best ham, tasty jamon serrano.
Poverty in these lands, has ancestral roots is no accident that one third of the conquistadors, beginning with Cortez and Pizarro, came from these quarters, moved to the New World from hunger and lack of prospects at home. Despite all the ‘ Extremadura , land of history as evidenced by the very old cave paintings and prehistoric megalithic monuments, has much to offer an educated and curious visitors, starting with the relaxing rural landscape and a wild and still relatively pristine, that includes a national park, two regional parks and 54 protected areas, so much to be called the Texas Spanish. Wandering through its mountainous terrain encountered because of historical and architectural masterpieces of great value, capable of living in their quiet out of time, as their inhabitants still tied to the traditions and lifestyles of the past.
The capital of Merida, founded in 25 BC as the epicenter of the Roman province of Lusitania and strong at the time of its 40 000 inhabitants, contains the largest number of Roman monuments in the country. Despite the harshness of the land the Romans built a road, still visible today, one thousand kilometers long which crossed the country from south to north, from Seville to the Bay of Biscay. In parallel there is also a dense network of tracks, created since the Visigoths, the seasonal transhumance of the huge flocks of merino sheep from the wool to the most local resource. After the Romans, the Visigoths, who left suggestive early Christian basilicas, and then for almost nine centuries, Spain was under Arab rule South, with Extremadura to serve as a no man’s land between Muslim and Christian kingdoms emirates.
The Renaissance saw the flourishing of monasteries, churches and palaces, funded mainly by the enormous wealth from the new American colonies. Belong to this period, the walled city of Plasencia and Ciudad Rodrigo, the medieval town of Trujillo, the refined Caceres , a city of storks, an authentic urban museum of Gothic and Renaissance, and especially the great monastery of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron of the region, most important religious monument and cultural beacon, once home to the largest library in Iberia and a qualified medical school of Arabic origin, not surprisingly in the New World are hundreds of shrines bearing the same name.
Many of the essential stages of a possible cultural itinerary. Plasencia , is a lovely and charming walled city on a hill, surrounded by a double circle of walls with 6 gates and 68 towers, ancient Roman fortress and later Berber town, then Castilian stronghold of defense against the Arabs until 1492, was inhabited mainly by Jews and Muslims, among the many historical monuments stands a unique cathedral consists of two churches together. Hervas offers one of the Jewish neighborhoods with the best-preserved half-timbered houses of Spain : the country became predominantly Jewish in 1391, when the Jews chose him to escape the persecution of Muslims and Christians for its remote location. La Alberca, national monument, is considered one of the most beautiful countries with typical Spanish Arabic influence.
Ciudad Rodrigo, another national monument, the last outpost before the Castilian boundary Lusitanian, is a treasure chest protected by a crenellated wall that hides architecture of unusual beauty of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Caceres, an architectural jewel of Roman and Arab UNESCO-protected door from antiquity a stork’s nest on tall buildings. Finally, the monument’s antuario of Guadalupe, a masterpiece of Gothic and Mudejar churrigheresco, another UNESCO site.
Originally posted 2012-07-17 04:54:58.