Zafra

Zafra

Dario Martinez de Azcona Doblas., the owner of Vivedespacio Conde de la Corte looks forward to welcome you to Zafra

Description

Zafra, also known as Little Seville, is located right in the heart of the southern part of the region of Extremadura, situated on a plain at the foot of the steep rocky mountains of Sierra de Castellar. The city was consolidated thanks to its location on the strategic “Via de la Plata”, or the Silver Route, in Roman Hispania. The San Miguel Cattle Show is in tune with this town’s historical commercial tradition.

Travel guide

How to Get There

Nearest airports: Seville (1-hour drive) and Badajoz (40-min drive)

By Car: A-66 (Ruta de la Plata, exit towards Zafra

Zafra: Plan your journey by public transport

Train station in the town of Mérida, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Train station in the town of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

San Pablo airport located in the town of Seville, region of Andalusia, Spain.

Zafra weather forecast

Apr 20, 2019 - Sat
Zafra, España
clear sky
52°F clear sky
Wind 9 mph, E
Humidity 70%
Pressure 762.07 mmHg
sat04/20 sun04/21 mon04/22 tue04/23 wed04/24
sky is clear
52/49°F
sky is clear
65/52°F
light rain
68/52°F
light rain
56/45°F
light rain
62/53°F

Places to go

Albuera’s Battle

Albuera’s Battle. “Glorious Field of Grief” by Lord Byron.

TO SEE: Historical commemoration of the famous Albuera’s battle between Spanish, Portuguese and British troops against Napoleon’s.

 

 

Routes

A walk through the ducal Zafra

 

Tour through the ‘ducal Zafra’, in the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

A walk through the town of the Dukes of Feria

This tour offers the chance to know Zafra through the artistic samples that still remember the town’s ducal character and its relationship to the lineage of the Suarez de Figueroa family – the Ducal House of Feria – during the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Start at the Ducal Palace, now a Parador-Hotel. The palace’s nucleus consists of the medieval fortress, built by the first Count of Feria, Lorenzo Suárez de Figueroa II. The construction started in 1437 and was completed in 1443, resulting in a factory that combined defensive and residential functions.

Very interesting are the paintings of the Cámara de la Torre del Homenaje (the chamber of the homage tower) and the ceiling of the ground floor living room. The second count completed the building with a Mudejar coffering in the Sala Dorada (Golden Hall) and the chapel. Around 1600, in times of the second duke, Lorenzo Suarez de Figueroa y Córdoba IV, the ancient fortress underwent a major refurbishment, which was entrusted to Francisco de Montiel, Senior Master of the ducal works. He proceeded to build a classicist marble patio, to raise two wings with flat roofs on both sides of the main entrance, and other galleries open to a new garden which would complement the aged Huerta Honda as the setting for court parties and imitation games.

Between 1605 and 1609 a passageway was built, connecting the palace with the simultaneously rebuilt convent church of Santa Marina. The works were carried out by master builders from Madrid and masons from Extremadura, which followed the guidelines of Juana Dormer, an English aristocrat who was the first Duchess of Feria.

The set was completed by a courtyard (today a public square), which was accessed through the Puerta de Acebuche gate, the palace’s main entrance at that time. The church of Santa Marina preserves two magnificent works of artists from the Madrid court: the major altarpiece and the praying sculpture of Margaret Harrington, cousin of the Duchess, whose testamentary legacy was used to finance the church.

The Suárez de Figueroa family always had a predilection for the nearby Monastery of Santa Maria del Valle, popularly known as the Convent of Santa Clara, because its church was considered the lineage’s pantheon. Although founded in 1428, the major chapel of the church was not completed until 1454. It saved the tomb sculptures of the young Garcilaso de la Vega and the first counts Lorenzo Suarez and Maria Manuel II, works of Egas Cueman. The 1670 Baroque altarpiece shows a venerated alabaster image of Santa Maria del Valle, work of the first half of the fifteenth century.

The funeral chapel of the second Duke of Feria, built around 1616, is situated in the epistle side of the church. Nearby, but open to the nave you’ll find the Capilla de las Reliquias, the relics chapel, a tiny space that keeps the splendid relics collection donated in 1603 by the second Duke and his mother. The closure, which can not be visited, is built around a 15th century cloister, whose walls still preserve some Gothic paintings. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the convent underwent important reforms, among which the reform of the choir and its stalls for being visible from the church. The nuns keep numerous objects of worship, most of them donations from the successive dukes.

On Plaza Grande you can visit the Hospital de Santiago, founded in 1438, and housed in which was formerly the residence of the first Dukes of Fair in Zafra. Its facade shows a prodigal, early 15th century Gothic decoration and the niche a Baroque painting that represents the salutation of Archangel Gabriel, the original dedication of the hospital. Inside you can see a square Mudejar patio and the hospital’s chapel with a beautiful dome.

Back again on the plaza, you should visit the Collegiate Church of La Candelaria, a church of cathedral proportions. Built in Gothic lines, which was tradition in the sixteenth century, it has one single nave with chapels between the buttresses and high choir, a transept with short wings and an octagonal apse. The works began in 1527 but continued until the end of the century. In 1609, the church was erected in Colegial Insigne thanks to the efforts of the third Duke of Feria who shortly after ordered to build a new sacristy and the Chapter. The collegiate church can be seen as sign of the power of the nobility. The Duke’s coats of arms are repeated not only on the outer walls but also in the sacristy, where they harmonize with a painting of the Italian school and a beautiful Baroque apostolate, and on the crowning structure of the Seville school major altarpiece, built between 1656 and 1683 by Blas de Escobar and Jose de Arce.

The church’s other altarpieces are all funeral memorials of the town’s noble and bourgeois families. We’d like to highlight the altarpiece of the Virgen de los Remedios which exhibits nine canvases painted by Francisco de Zurbarán in 1644 for merchant Alonso de Salas Parra. Also interesting are the funeral altarpieces of merchants Juan Ramirez el Viejo and Alonso Sanchez el Viejo, or the one of canon Mateos Moreno, which is work of Blas de Escobar.

Under the tower of the church you’ll find the Capilla de la Valvanera chapel, whose spectacular eighteenth century Baroque altarpiece was financed by the noble families who came from La Rioja and settled in Zafra.

On the Plazuela del Pilar Redondo, behind the Collegiate church, you can visit the former house-palace of Garcia de Toledo y Figueroa, brother of the third count of Feria, governor of the ill-fated Prince Charles, son of Philip II. Built in the first quarter of the 16th century, it still preserves its main walls, its facade and a magnificent and large patio with marble pillars. In 1600 it was occupied by the tertiary Franciscan nuns of the Cross of Christ, who made it their convent. Since its confiscation the building houses the Town Council.

Once you have passed the place of the former Puerta de los Santos gate, you can go to the 17th and 18th century Infirmary Convent of San Benito. At the end of the street you can see the Tower of San Francisco, the only remnant of the convent founded by the Dukes of Feria in the 15th century.

Back inside the town wall, in Calle San Jose you can visit the Mudejar Hospital of San Miguel, founded by the second Countess of Feria in 1480, and the Hospital of San Ildefonso which was built in the 17th century upon the former house of Ruy Lopez, chess winner and writer.

At the end of Calle Tetuan, passing through the Arco del Cubo, which was opened in the wall in the late 6th century, you’ll find the Dominican Monastery of La Encarnación y Mina, known as the Convento del Rosario. It was founded in 1511 by Maria Manuel de Figueroa, Countess of Medellin and daughter of the second count of Feria. Quite interesting is the three nave church, covered with 16th century vaults like those of northern churches, and the devout image of Cristo del Rosario, a late 16th century work.

Points:
Zafra, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Camino de la Plata

Camino de la Plata walking tour through Zafra, region of Extremadura, Spain.

The tour starts on Plaza Grande and continues through Calle Pasteleros, Fuente Grande, Toledillo, Campo Marín y Mártires, until getting to the Pillar of the Republic. From here you’ll walk approx. 100 meters through the small park to Calle Belén. Continue on this street until getting to the main signpost, with a description of the tour, situated at the junction.

Take the path on your left which is flanked by the stone walls of several farms. Once you have passed the gate of Finca La Giralda, a few meters downwards, you’ll find on your left a more narrow path (Tres Arroyos) that, optionally, leads to Puebla de Sancho Perez. Keep going straight ahead, crossing the “creek” of Zafra. After 100 meters, and preceded by the entrance to the Cabezo Montilla estate, you’ll find the path of Valdelagrulla which is another option to go to Puebla de Sancho Perez.

Our trail continues straight ahead through a small channel next to a farm. After having passed the farm there’s a junction with the entrance to the Finca Aguas Claras on your left. Keep straight ahead on the path that is flanked by the stone walls of several farms.

Take a break at Pilar de las Navas, located in an esplanade with a picnic area that opens to your right. Following the path, you’ll encounter the railway line of Jerez. Cross the line and keep going straight on, ignoring the next crossroads. After approx. 400 meters there’s another junction. Take the path on the right, flanked by stone walls with two small seasonal streams. Later on the wall disappears giving way to ploughed land, and a bit further on, you’ll enjoy again the path and the meadows of Medina de las Torres.

The next junction is marked by a cylindrical granite landmark that informs you of the confluence of the local limits of Zafra, Medina de las Torres and Alconera. Take the right path through the ancient alley of Santo Domingo, flanked by a stone wall.

The path is now completely devoid of trees until getting to the junction of Casa de las Carmelitas. Turn right, walking past the entrance of Casa de Rasero and ignoring on your right a dead end path. Continue ascending gently until getting to a shepherd’s hut on a high on your left.

Keep descending and, after a curve, cross the track of the Boyal meadow. You’ll get to an urbanized area. Once here, after having crossed the railway line, you’ll arrive at the former Venta Belén inn. Turn left and go around the inn’s building to the back side where the path continues parallel to some houses towards a plantation of Eucalyptus trees. Follow the path straight on the edge of the plantation and a fence that is on your right, to a small hill where you can see the Cortijo de los Pinos farm. Crossing the path of the cortjio keep walking towards the chapel on the path, flanked on the right by a pig farm. At the chapel take the descending path. Once down again, at the Belén fountain, turn right and after having passed an old bridge, keep straight on until getting to the road between Zafra and Fregenal de la Sierra. Cross the road and take the path flanked by Finca La Giralda estate on your right and small gardens on your left.

Once again in Zafra, proceed along Calle Belén, cross the park and continue on Calle de los Mártires, Campo Marín y Santa Catalina until getting to the starting point of the tour: Plaza Grande.

Points:
Zafra, region of Extremadura, Spain

Camino de los Naranjos

Camino de los Naranjos in Zafra, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Start this ‘path of the orange trees’ in Calle Boticas. Walk until getting to Arco del Cubo. Keep straight ahead, walk past the front door of the Secondary School and take the street to your right heading towards the new gate of the cemetery, where you’ll find the main signpost with information of the tour.

Continue to the left and flanked by the cemetery wall you’ll get to its main gate where the path starts – flanked again but by stone walls. The path continues among several crop farms and reaches finally an eucalyptus tree plantation and the old farmhouse of Finca Porrino. Once you passed the farm and after approx. 200 meters, you’ll find to your left a 19th century facade. This stretch of the path runs through brambles, fig trees, reeds and ends at a junction with the Camino de los Moledores.

Take the path on your left, since the path on the right leads to an urbanized area along the road of Badajoz. After 50 meters the road forks again. Take the path on the right since the original path on the left is destroyed. The trail descends slightly to a junction with the Playón track. From here you can admire a small sierra and an old shepherd’s hut, called the ‘dog’s hut’ – El Chozo del Perro.

Continue to your left and after approx. 200 meters take the path on the right, which appears again flanked by stone walls and a pig farm. Once you have passed the farm, take the path on the right and after approx. 25 meters follow the path up to the BA-302 road which you have to cross.

Keep straight on the old road until you find the first path on the right, flanked by stone walls and small vacation houses. The path starts to ascend slightly until reaching the junction with the path of Bajondo, which appears on the right and is a cul-de-sac.

The path continues straight on and approx. 100 meters ahead, on your left, you’ll see another stretch of the Bajondo Road, which is an option if you want to return to the BA-302 road. Keep walking on the path until reaching a curve in the form of a short and very sharp Z, that leads to the new ring road. Cross the road to see the House of Buen Suceso, also known as El Palomar.

Now you’re almost there. After having crossed a small stream, walk along the first gardens and houses of Cestería street. From there you’ll get to the Paseo de las Viudas. Cross it and keep straight on the Calle del Agua, Plazuela de Ruy López and Plaza Chica where the tour ends.

Points:
Zafra, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Camino de los pinos

‘Camino de los pinos’ (path of the pine trees) in Zafra, Badajoz province, region of Extremadura, Spain.

This ‘tour of the pine trees’ starts on Plaza Grande. Walk along Calle Santa Catalina to the juntion with Calle Campo Marin. Continue on Calle Campo Marín to the right and cross the small square towards Calle Mártires. Keep walking on this street until getting to the road between Zafra and Fregenal de la Sierra. After a few meters (in front of a bar), take the wide path on your right – it’ll lead you to the ring road (Carretera de Circunvalación). Cross the road and keep walking on the path straight ahead.

A little beyond the 2- kms-point, you’ll find a junction next to an eucalyptus tree: take the left path. Following the path you’ll see an old mill on the right. After approx. 200 m. you’ll find a track, turn to the right. Later on you’ll cross the Rivera de Zafra on a bridge and after approx. 100 meters take the path on your left to ascend to the Chapel of Bethlehem (Ermita de Belén). Continue to your right on a narrow path through a picnic area that leads to the door of an old house. Turn left, leaving the the house on your right, and keep ascending. You’ll walk past another gate and a few meters further on you’ll find another gate and an old shepherd’s hut.

From this point the path descends gently, flanked on the right by a large pine forest and a small stone wall. At the end of the wall made of crumbling stones and continuing straight on, you’ll see to your right a path that descends to the area of the chapel. The path has been fully fenced and parts of the stone wall are torn. Keep walking, you’ll see a well and later on you’re again on the path which now is clearly flanked by the stone wall. Continue on this narrow path and have a break on the esplanade with an old shepherd’s hut: The views to Zafra are magnificent!

From here the path is almost straight, with a smooth ascent at the end. After approx. 600 meters you’ll get to a junktion with the ‘Colorao’ path. Turn right and start descending, always straight ahead (you’ll have to cross a track). After having crossed the Rivera de Zafra on the bridge you’ll get to the Jaraco mill.

Points:
Zafra, province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Tour through the Bourgeois Zafra

Tour through the bourgeois Zafra, province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Since ancient times, Zafra has been an important commercial center. In the Middle Ages, its markets and fairs were very important, due to its Jewish quarter and the interest of the Duke of  Feria.

Markets and fairs were still strong in the 17th century, when a contingent of traders from the region of La Rioja settled in the town. Local businesses flourished during the following centuries.

In our epoch, and especially after 1992 – when Zafra hosted the International Exhibition of Livestock of the Fifth Centenary (of the Discovery of America) – this traditional commercial and bourgeois character, which distinguishes the town from its rural surroundings, has been renewed. The local market was primary held under the arcades of Plaza Chica and Plaza Grande.

La Plaza Chica hosted since 1380 the weekly markets, that’s why the governmental employee, who checked weights and measures, had his office here. The so-called ‘Vara de Zafra’ (Zafra yardstick) was engraved on the shaft of a column so that the clients could verify whether the measuring of the acquired gender was accurate or not.

La Plaza Grande was originally part of the old Candelaria church and its cemetery; mid 15th century, in order to facilitate commercial transactions, arcades were built at the edges of the cemetery.

The squares are undoubtedly one of the most original urban areas of the Peninsula, since they communicate with each other through the Arquillo del Pan arch, under which you can see the small altarpiece of the Virgen de la Esperancita, a 17th century work.

One of Zafra’s most picturesque streets is Calle de Jerez, at the end of which you can see the remains of the medieval town wall: This is Puerta de Jerez, the gate which allowed walkers coming from the West access to the town.

On the exterior facade of the wall you can see the images of shoemakers’ patron saints and, on the stonework, a Castilian foot that had been engraved for reference measurements. Upstairs there is a Baroque chapel, where locals venerate the sculpture of the ‘Cristo de la Humildad y Paciencia’.

On the area, formerly known as ‘Mercado del Trigo’, wheat market, starts one of the town’s most attractive promenades: a narrow street that leads to the Bodegas Medina. Housed in an old tanning factory, Bodegas Medina offers the possibility to sample their extraordinary Matanegra and Tierra de Barros wines or to visit the Ethnographic Museum.

Back at the remains of the town wall you should visit the ‘gate of Badajoz’, Puerta de Badajoz. It’s important to mention that the town wall was not built with warlike purpose but raised by the Fair, between 1426 and 1449, with a dual mission: to protect and safeguard the crafts production and local trade of an unsafe environment, particularly at night, and to control fiscally 108 merchants and artisans. The gate lost its appearance and its name when, in the seventeenth century, a new, more capable arch was opened, the so-called ‘Arco del Cubo’. The former gate however still maintains a niche with the image of Santiago Matamoros.

The rich merchants of Zafra, many of them made themselves landowners others were ennobled during the 18th and 19th centuries, built their mansions in the town. On the Plazuela del Pilar Redondo, where you’ll get walking down the Ronda de la Maestranza which still has remains of the retaining wall, you’ll see the neoclassical palace-house ‘Conde de la Corte’ and some houses with modernist and neo-plateresque facades.

The streets of Zafra offer a large repertoire of sumptuous buildings, characteristic of the commercial bourgeoisie and nobility of past centuries. But do not look here for fortified houses: In Zafra the typical residence of a rich class family is a house with  white facade and grilled windows, balconies and maybe some other viewpoint. In stone or marble only the facade and the family crest.

In Calle Gobernador you’ll find the ‘Casa de Anibal Gonzalez’ – designed by this famous architect from Seville, shortly before his death, for the Fernandez family -, the classicistic facade of the Casa de los Mendoza de la Rocha, almost opposite the Arco de San Antonio, and the beautiful palace-house of the Marquis of Solanda, a neo-Mudéjar work from the end of the century.

In Calle Huelva you can visit the Casino de Zafra and the Casa de la Cultura, examples of those houses the oligarchy built at the late 19th century. You can also see several classicistic facades of the 17th century, most notably the one of the old Militia Barracks (now housing the Segedano Recreation Center Segedano).

In Calle Sevilla you’ll find the popular Casa Grande, built in 1601 for the wealthy merchant Hernán López. Its marble main entrance, the central patio and the main staircase show classicistic compositions inspired by Italian architecture. The house was the residence and headquarters of John of Austria during the Portuguese Civil War. During the 18th century the Daza Maldonado family lived here.

Zafra’s importance grew with the establishment of its fairs in 1395 and 1453. At that time the markets could be held within the walls, but from the 16th century they were held outside the walls in the so-called Campo de Sevilla, today Plaza de España, and, facing the Ducal Palace, on the current Plaza de los Escudos, with the famous Pilar del Duque, a 15th century Gothic building which formerly was a huge trough for cattle. Today, however smaller, you can see it next to the Avenida de Antonio Chacón.

The fairs were held on three dates each year: in February, June and October. After nearly sevenhundred years of existence, today the most important fair is the one held in October – the San Miguel Fair.

Attended by farmers from all over the Peninsula, the San Miguel fair features contests and competitions of different livestock species and breeds, and exhibitions of industrial products related to agriculture and livestock. Today it is held simultaneously to the Regional Fair of Agricultural Products of Extremadura and the International Livestock Fair, expanding hence its offering to all areas of productivity. Its magnificent and extensive exhibition center houses several multipurpose halls and a succession of impressive industrial premises which can house the different livestock breeds brought to Zafra for exhibition and sales purposes.

Points:
Zafra, province of Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain.

Tour through the Mudejar Zafra

Tour through Zafra, visiting Mudejar monuments, located in the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Visiting Mudejar monuments in Zafra
A stroll through the ‘town of the three cultures’. This tour allows you to see the Mudejar art remaining in the medieval Zafra, the “Çafra” of the three cultures: a scenario in which Muslims, Jews and Christians lived in mutual tolerance – albeit for a short period.

Muslim Zafra
There are still remains of the Islamic dominion, such as the ruins of the El Castellar castle, a fortress that controlled the valley from the crests of the mountains. It was used as such until the 16th century. Since it is quite difficult to access, you should dedicate it a morning or afternoon: The views from the castle are worth the effort.

However the walk within the town walls starts on Plaza Chica, which was the center of the village, location of the town council and the weekly markets: a rectangular square lined with arcades except for one of its minor sides, where once you could find the ‘Audiencia’ (court) and today the current courthouse.

After the Christian reconquest of Zafra in mid-13th century, the Morisco builders (Muslim masons who remained in the village after the Christian occupation) preserved their aesthetics in architecture – the Mudejar art – even if they had to work then at the service of the victors. The Mudejar forms (visible in the use of lime and brick, or in certain building elements such as Alfiz or interlaced arches, wooden roofs etc.) were so popular, that the people of Zafra continued to use them for centuries. These elements can still be seen on Plaza Chica, where the brick arches of the portals framed by Alfiz, emphasize the white facades of the nearby houses: most notably one house that features a Gothic-Mudejar ornamentation of intertwined blind arches.

Plaza Chica communicates with Calle Boticas, where you’ll find the famous Casa del Ajimez. It is a 15th century family home whose facade shows an ‘ajimez’, that is, a bautiful Mudejar window parted by a small marble column with two brick arches that end in very tiny spikes. Also very interesting is the graphite work that adorns the facade, one of the few remaining examples of this decorative technique which then abounded in the town and contrasts with the idea of a white village that currently characterizes Zafra. Almost opposite and in the adjacent streets you may see other, however more modest Mudejar houses that were built at the end of the Middle Ages.

Jewish Zafra
Nearby, in Calle San Jose, you’ll find what was once the town’s ancient synagogue. After the expulsion of the Jews the synagogue was consecrated as church of St. Catherine of Alexandria. In the 18th century the church was restored and dedicated to St. Joseph. Its generously proportioned hall is organized in arches with a simple loop work at the height of the capitals. The Gothic portal, with Solomonic columns, has lost the Jewish symbols. Everything seems being a work of the second half of the 15th century, shortly before the expulsion of the Jews

The Jewish quarter extended from the synagogue comprising, among others, the present streets of San Jose, Badajoz, Pozo, Alfonso XII: Streets that still preserve an evocative Moorish atmosphere. The Jewish quarter of Zafra was significant and large, thanks to the protection of the Counts of Feria for whom the industrious Jews of the town were an important source of taxes. The nobles also sponsored in 1419 the first translation into Castilian of the Guide for the Perplexed, written by Maimonides – the oldest translation of this fundamental work of Jewish spirituality made to a vernacular language.

You should also visit the tiny Chapel of Cristo del Pozo, whose roots are – according to popular tradition – related to the simulation of the converts. Or the Hospital of San Miguel, founded in 1480 by Constanza Osorio, second Countess of Feria. Despite the pitiful state of the ruins you can still see the Mudejar chapel and infirmary. The altarpiece of the chapel featured once the famous Archangel Saint Michael tabla, work by Maestro de Zafra, which currently is exhibited in the Prado Museum of Madrid as a jewel of Spanish-Flemish painting.

Christian Zafra
Back on Plaza Chica cross the Arquillo de la Esperancita to get to Plaza Grande. This was originally the site of the old church of La Candelaria, which occupied the widest part of the square. In mid-15th century, arcades were built at the edges of the cemetery to facilitate commercial transactions. When it was demolished and the church moved to its present location (second half of the 16th century), the square emerged as new open space within the town walls. Among the adjacent houses we’d like to mention the birthplace of Pedro de Valencia, a humanist of Jewish-converted descent.

Next to the squares and at the end of a cul-de-sac, which reminds the ramparts of the Muslim populations, you’ll find the Hospital de Santiago, which was formerly the home of the Suárez de Figueroa family before the construction of the Alcazar. Its Gothic doorway leads to a distinctly Mudejar courtyard, where the lime whitens the geometric architectural lines. Nearby the Convent of Santa Catalina, whose church is covered with some interesting woodwork which are milestones in the Mudejar art of Extremadura.

In Calle Sevilla you can visit the Convent of Santa Clara with its Gothic-Mudejar church built in the first half of the 15th century. You can end your walk – or take a rest – at the Palace of the Dukes of Feria. Its oldest part, the ducal alcazar coincides with 15th century Gothic constructions, however the decoration corresponds to Mudejar taste. This taste is visible, on the outside, in form of parallel moldings at the height of the rampart and in the pyramid-shaped merlon, and in the interior in form of the ‘aljarfe’ – the wooden and intertwined ceilings – that cover the main rooms.

Points:
Zafra, province of Badajoz, Spain.

Artistic route: Gothic art in Extremadura

Gothic art in the region of Extremadura, Spain.

Where:
Throughout Extremadura since the region was situated close to the influential Caliphate of Córdoba. In addition to Zafra, there are notable Islamic traces in Hornachos, Alange and Badajoz.

When?
The Arabs have been living in Extremadura for five centuries, from the 8th to the 13th centuries.

A good reason:
Arab fortifications have been built all over the region, merging with the landscape.

How to distinguish Islamic art:
• Due to the military buildings with defensive structure, such as the ‘alcazabas’, the citadels.
• Due to the towers of the palaces.

Good examples
In the town center of Zafra you can see the remains of the Roman layout; remember that from the 11th century Zafra was an important Arabic center.

Hornachos, a village historically linked to Arab culture preserves a castle and other examples of that period. Nearby, you’ll find the castle of Alange, a good place to appreciate the nature of the area.

Badajoz was the most important political and military center of the Arab period in Extremadura. Don’t miss out on its Alcazaba, the Arab fortress. Together with the Archaeological Museum, this is the largest and best preserved example of Islamic architecture and art in Extremadura. Do not leave the city without seeing the popular Espantaperros (‘scaring dogs’) tower.

A tip:
Although somewhat further away from Zafra, the towns of Caceres and Merida have fabulous Islamic remains too. Both deserve at least a day’s visit.

Points:
Zafra, Hornachos, Alange, Badajoz.

Artistic route: Islamic art in Extremadura

Islamic art and architecture in the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Where:
Throughout Extremadura since the region was situated close to the influential Caliphate of Córdoba. In addition to Zafra, there are notable Islamic traces in Hornachos, Alange and Badajoz.

When?
The Arabs have been living in Extremadura for five centuries, from the 8th to the 13th centuries.

A good reason:
Arab fortifications have been built all over the region, merging with the landscape.

How to distinguish Islamic art:
• Due to the military buildings with defensive structure, such as the ‘alcazabas’, the citadels.
• Due to the towers of the palaces.

Good examples
In the town center of Zafra you can see the remains of the Roman layout; remember that from the 11th century Zafra was an important Arabic center.

Hornachos, a village historically linked to Arab culture preserves a castle and other examples of that period. Nearby, you’ll find the castle of Alange, a good place to appreciate the nature of the area.

Badajoz was the most important political and military center of the Arab period in Extremadura. Don’t miss out on its Alcazaba, the Arab fortress. Together with the Archaeological Museum, this is the largest and best preserved example of Islamic architecture and art in Extremadura. Do not leave the city without seeing the popular Espantaperros (‘scaring dogs’) tower.

A tip:
Although somewhat further away from Zafra, the towns of Caceres and Merida have fabulous Islamic remains too. Both deserve at least a day’s visit.

Points:
Zafra, Hornachos, Alange, Badajoz.

Artistic route: Mudejar art in Extremadura

Mudejar art in the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Islamic culture has been present in Extremadura from the 8th to the 13th centuries, however its influence on art continued to the 16th century.

A good reason:
Through Mudejar art one can see the heritage and integration of the Islamic culture in Extremadura.

How to distinguish it:
• Wooden ceilings, chamfered pillars, masonry.
• On the facades of houses, palaces, fortresses, on squares and bridges, but especially in towers and interiors of the churches.

Good examples of Mudejar art:
In Zafra Mudejar art left impressive samples such as Plaza Chica and Plaza Grande or the coffered ceilings of the Palace of the Dukes of Feria.

In Fregenal de la Sierra you might want to visit the 15th century Church of Santa Catalina.

In Tentudía visit the monastery, it’s very sober and has a beautiful cloister.

Then it’s time to travel to Llerena, a great Mudejar center. Don’t miss out on the tower of the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Granada, the courtyard of the Tribunal de la Inquisición, the Palacio del Obispo and the Plaza Mayor.

In Azuaga you’ll find the 14th century church De la Merced; but you can not complete the route without visiting Granja de Torrehermosa. This village has one of the most representative samples of Gothic Mudejar art in Extremadrua: the tower of the 16th century Church De la Concepción. It is so beautiful that the village was named after the tower (Torrehermosa means ‘beautiful tower’).

A tip:
Although somewhat further away from Zafra, do not miss out on the Monastery of Guadalupe, one of the jewels of Mudejar art in Extremadura. The monastery alone deserves a route.

Points:
Zafra, Fregenal, Monasterio de Tentudía, Llerena, Azuaga, Granja de Torre Hermosa.

Artistic route: Renaissance art in Extremadura

Renaissance art in the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Where?
You’ll find Renaissance architecture all over the region of Extremadura, but near Zafra – in addition to the village itself – you should not miss out on visiting Olivenza, Badajoz, Talavera la Real and Calera de León.

When?
Like Gothic art, also Renaissance architecture arrived in Extremadura with a certain delay compared to the rest of the Peninsula. Its period of splendor, yet alone or merged with Gothic art, comprises the 15th and 16th centuries.

A good reason:
Renaissance art reached in Extremadura a unique splendor. The towns of Trujillo, Cáceres and Plasencia offer a stunning Renaissance heritage.

How to distinguish it:
• Due to its new conception of space and monumentality.
• Due to its padding masonry facades.
• Due to its arcaded patios and plazas.
• Due to the balconies of the palaces and mansions.

Good examples
You’ll find outstanding examples of Renaissance art in the surroundings of Huerta Honda. In Badajoz you should visit the Las Palmas bridge and gate. The Church of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, in Talavera la Real, is a good example of religious architecture, with its three naves and barrel vault. In Olivenza, coexistence between the Spanish and Portuguese art has left curious traces, such as the façade of the Iglesia de la Magdalena and the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Castillo, a church with three naves and columns. In Calera de León you might want to visit the Convent. Zafra has also excellent samples of Renaissance art. You can start to appreciate it in the courtyard of the Palace of the Dukes of Feria. Or visit the parish church Iglesia de la Candelaria, but do not leave without having visited some Renaissance palaces such as the palace of the Dukes of San Carlos, the palace of El Marquesado de Piedras, the palace of the Marqueses de la Conquista and the palace of Juan Pizarro de Orellana.

Information:
Painter Luis de Morales is a key figure of that period and this place.

Points:
Zafra, Olivenza, Badajoz, Talavera la Real, Calera de León.

Gastronomic route: Game

Gastronomic route through the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Leave Zafra towards Alconchel. Take a break having ‘migas’ for breakfast, a traditional dish of hospitality (consisting of fried bread crumbs, chorizo, garlic, bacon, eggs, olive oil, peppers, paprika). Keep on towards Cheles, and request that strange dish called ‘ajo de peces’ (garlic fish). Drive on to Olivenza, visit the town’s fabulous churches and take a break to try the ‘frite de guarrino’ and other half Portuguese half Spanish dishes. For dessert: Have a ‘técula-mécula’ (almond cake), which has a magical name. Return to Badajoz, spend the afternoon in the town until it is time to have stewed partridges or pigeons in almond sauce for supper.

Need excuses?
-Yesterday this was usual in Extremadura, today it is the privilege of a few.
-These are monastic traditional recipes with an innovative touch.
-These dishes are part of the land and the sky.

A tip:
Do not stop to taste the dishes in each village or your stomach will go crazy. Take your time: first a tapa, later lunch … Calmness and cooking go hand in hand.

After this overdose of meat it is time to return to the hotel and swim some lenghts in the pool.

Points:
Zafra – Alconchel – Cheles – Olivenza – Badajoz – Zafra.

Gastronomic route: Spanish Ham

Gastronomic route of the Iberian ham through the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

All villages on this route have excellent ham so maybe you should just choose one or two villages to try different dishes made with pork. We’d recommend Jerez de los Caballeros which is the “ham mecca” of the area. If you go in May don’t miss out on the “Salón del Jamón Ibérico” (the local ham fair) and enjoy a plate of lomo (cured loin of pork), chorizo colorno (highly-seasoned pork sausage) and – of course – the exquisite cured Spanish ham.

Monastery is another good place to start the route with a unique ham sandwich. In Segura de León you should try ‘Setas con Cardo’ (mushrooms with globe artichoke) and in Higuera the ‘Mano de Guarro’ (pig’s trotters). On the way back to the hotel, in Zafra, you might like to finish the banquet with a sweet from the Convent of Las Clarisas.

Need excuses?
• Extremadura is unthinkable without meadows, acorns, pigs or Serrano-ham.
• All recipes of the area (both high cuisine and everyday recipes) are based and always were based on pork.
• The Ibérico ham of this area is protected by the Denomination of Origin “Dehesa de Extremadura” which means that they are known and respected in the food distribution sector and that food critics and famous chefs too have praised the qualities of these purebred Iberian hams.

A tip:
Learn to distinguish ‘Jamón Ibérico de Bellota’ from ‘Jamón Ibérico de Recebo’: ‘Bellota ham’ comes from pigs who, between October and February, are fed only with acorns and cuttings. ‘Recebo ham’ comes from pigs that are also fed with fodder.

Points:
Zafra, Jerez de los Caballeros, Oliva, Fregenal de la Sierra, Higuera la real, Segura de León, Cabeza la Vaca, Calera de León, Monesterio, Fuente de Cantos.

Gastronomic route: Spanish sheep’s milk cheese

Route of the Spanish sheep’s milk cheese in the region of Extremadura, Spain.

Sheep’s milk cheese goes very well with pork, lamb and game dishes. A few kilometers from Zafra you’ll find the following delicacies:

In Castuera: Gazpacho de huevos fritos (gazpacho with fried eggs), Salmorejo de conejo (rabbit salmorejo).
In Campanario: Salsa de huevos (egg sauce) and, if possible, Lagarto en salsa de almendras (lizard in almond sauce).
In Cabeza del Buey: Cachorreña (a typical cold dish).
In Higuera de la Serena: Croquetas de Queso (cheese croquettes) or Croquetas de pollo campero relleno de queso (free-range chicken croquettes filled with cheese).

Need excuses?
• The sheep is a native animal of Extremadura, especially in La Serena the animal feels at home.
• The ‘Queso de la Serena- La Torta’ (the Serena cheese) has been made, is made and will always be made by traditional methods.
• The Serena-Cheese has won several competitions, like its ‘cheese brother’ – the Torta del Casar.

A tip:
How to distinguish a ‘torta’? When slicing off the top the inside must be creamy, smooth and of ivory colour.

Points:
Villanueva, Campanario, Castuera, Cabeza del Buey, Monterrubio and Higuera de la Sierra.

Route of the Santiago Order

Route of the Santiago Order in the province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

The route starts and ends in Zafra, passing through Los Santos de Maimona, Calzadilla de los Barros, Fuente de Cantos, Calera de León and Monasterios de Tentudía.

Distance/Time: 150 kms / 1 day
Points:
Los Santos de Maimona – Calzadilla de los Barros – Fuente de Cantos – Calera de León – Monasterios de Tentudía.

Route of the Templar Order

Route of the Templar Order in the  province of Badajoz, region of Extremadura, Spain.

Route of the Templar Order passing through the villages of Burguillos del Cerro, Jerez de los Caballeros, Fregenal de la Sierra in the province of Badajoz, Spanish region of Extremadura.

Distance/Time: 100 kms / 1 day
Points:
Burguillos del Cerro, Jerez de los Caballeros, Fregenal de la Sierra.

Wine Rout

Wine route through the region of Extremadura, Spain.

All of the dishes forming Extremadura cuisine can and must be accompanied by our wines. We have chosen some emblematic villages:

Trujillo offers a highly praised cuisine with dishes such as ‘huevos con trufas’ (scrambled eggs with truffles), ‘carnero verde’ (mutton in green sauce) or ‘frite de cordero’ (lamb stew).

Farther south, the village of Almendralejo – another important wine-growing district of Extremadura – is famous for its ‘migas’ (fried bread crumbs with bacon, chorizo, ham, garlic, olive oil etc.) and meat dishes.

Aceuchal is known for its soups – especially the garlic soup and the ‘Antruejos soup’ (which is typical at carnival time).

In Montánchez your wine would go well with ‘huevos a la hortelana’ (poached egg with cured ham and chorizo) and a slice of cured Serrano ham.

In Fuente de Cantos, don’t miss out on the ‘chanfaina’ – a rich stew of mutton liver, brain, heart and kidneys cooked with a mixture of bay leaves, garlic, bread crumbs and boiled eggs.

Need excuses?
• Each area has its own grapes, soil and climate; the result is a wide variety of wines.
• The Denomination of Origin ‘Ribera del Guadiana’ guarantees and confirms the quality of the wine.

A tip:
Try wines from our new grape varieties such as Sensibel, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay. They are actually winning many awards and are highly praised.

Points:
Trujillo, Almendralejo, Aceuchal, Montánchez, Fuente de Cantos.

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