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In 34 B.C. the Romans founded Norda Caeserina, the city that we know now as Cáceres, a city with almost 100,000 inhabitants in the province of Cáceres in Extremadura, Spain. For a long time Cáceres was a very influential city for the southern part of Extremadura. A city that also was place of great strategic importance, and therefor it was taken and re-captured a couple of time in the reconquest in the 13th century, before it was taken back by the Christians for good in 1229.
The big attraction in Cáceres is the old city (listed as an UNESCO world heritage site) The old city of Cáceres can be compared with the old city of Toledo, but only less touristic. The ciudad monumental is the old part of Cáceres and it is walled. Most of the towns monuments can be found in this part. Only the large Plaza Mayor and the Iglesia de Santiago de los caballeros are outside of this area.
The leaflet of the city council of Cáceres about the old city, lists no less than 68 sights in and around the monumental part of the city. This list might be a bit long, but there is more than enough to see in the city.
The Plaza Major is a long square surrounded by beautiful white houses. The Plaza is the place where you most likely see something of the Old city from nearby. In the galleries under the houses you can find enough places to have a drink or something to eat. On the eastside of the square you will see the citywalls and the towers of the old city. Here you will find the stairway that leads up to the Arco de Estrella (the Gate to the city) where you can get into the walled part of town.
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When you have entered the city through the Arco de Estrella, and followed the small street, the first square you will find is the Plaza de Santa Maria. When you enter the square the first thing you will see is the 16th century Iglesia Concathedral de Santa Maria, which is a mixture of Roman and Gothic buildingstyles. Highlights are the main altar, which is mainly made of wood, and dates back to the 16th century. On the rightside of the altar, is the Chapel of the black Jesus. On some special occasions this statue is carried in processions, through the streets of Cáceres. On the leftside of the church you will see the Palacio de Carjaval. Most of the other buildings surrounding this square also dates back to the 16th century.
At the Plaza de las Veletas we find the Palacio de las Veletas, which now houses the museum of Cáceres. Here we also find the Iglesia de San Mateo, which is built on top of an old mosque, and many other old buildings.
In the small museum of Cáceres you will also find the only remaining parts of Moorish Cáceres. In the basement, you can find the 'Aljiba'. A series of Arches dating from the Moorish era. The rest of the museum is mainly occupied by archeological finds, dating back to prehistoric times. The museum is opened almost every day. (on Sunday only in the morning.) Entrance is free for E.U. citizens.
The Hermita de San Antonio is a lovely small church. The oldest part of this church dates back to the 13th century, but it was finished in the 18th. It is rumoured that it helps if you come here and ask the divine one to hook you up with a nice girl or boy.
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You can wander around the old city for most of the day, and see lovely places without always needing to know what's what. The oldest part of the city you will find on the eastside of the old town. The Arco and the Torre de Cristo date back to the first century A.D., while the Torre de la puerta de Concejo was built in the second century.
On the northside of the old town the city walls were removed, and just outside the place where once the walls should be you will find the Plaza de Santiago, with the beautiful Iglesia de Santiago. On the otherside of the old town, on the southside, and also just outside the citywalls you can find the Convento de Santa Clara.
The WOMAD (World Of Music And Dance) festival, a festival organised by Peter Gabriel, with a lot of world music comes to Cáceres every year in early May. The festival takes place at the Plaza Major, Plaza San Jorge and the Plaza de las Veletas. Besides the music, there is the possibility to taste a lot of foods from all over the world, and there also in a big market at the paseo de Cánovas, a street not far away from the Plaza Major.
Extremadura has a small airport near Badajoz, which is only served by Air Nostrum, a sister company of Spain's national carrier Iberia, the only international destination served is Paris (Orly). You can also get to Cáceres from Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. An other option to go to Cáceres is to get to relatively close airports, like Seville. But in most cases it best to go via either the international airports at Madrid or Lisbon and continue by train or bus from there.
There are train connections to Cáceres. From Madrid a train travel takes around 3-4 hours. Check the Renfe website to get a precise idea about the time and expenses to travel to your destination. The duration of the trip, and the price can vary a lot, as the route is operated by a couple of companies. It is also possible to reach Cáceres by train from Portugal.
The train station is at the southside of the city, a 15-minute walk away from the city centre. On the other side of the street you will find the bus station.
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Coming from Madrid the A-5 motorway is the most logical way to get to Badajoz. This motorway also passes Trujillo. If you need to get to Cáceres, you follow the A-5 until Trujillo and continue on the A-58. If you destination lies in the north of Extremadura, you probably want to leave the A-5 sooner, and continue on the EX-A1 (which meets the A-66, near Plasencia)
From Madrid a bus ride takes just under 4 hours. Check the website of Avanza for time schedules and prices. The bus station in Cáceres serves a regional hub, and has a lot of destination in the west of Spain and also into Portugal
You can get around the modern part of the city easily by car, but it is not smart to drive the car into the old part of town.
There are a couple of city buses that can take you around Cáceres, but in general everything is within walking distance.
Going by foot is the best way to see Cáceres, and the only way to see the historic part of town. There are a lot of stairs in the old city, but at the tourist information they can also point you out which streets you can visit without the need of climbing stairs.
As is the case everywhere in Spain, you will find many bars all around town. One place that is a bit more special is El Corral de las Cigüeñas at Calle de Aldena 6. It is located just inside the walled part of the old town, and has a huge open space, that in summer serves as a refuge for many locals that seek shelter from the heat. On many occasions there are bands playing on Saturdays.
Popular places that stay open until fairly late in the weekends, include Carpe Diem and Club Bugaloo. In the latter on some occasions bands are playing, or jamsessions take place.
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Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.
In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.
The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.
If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.
as well as Peter (6%)
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