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How to get to the Hotel?

The Parador is located in the centre of the town. Mérida is 60 km from Badajoz and 350 km from Madrid along the main N-V road, and 70 km from Cáceres and 200 km from Sevilla on the N-630.

Location

EXTREMADURA

Consisting of just two provinces (Cáceres and Badajoz) of roughly equal size, the Autonomous Community of Extremadura is the fifth largest in Spain but probably one of the least known. It is also one of the least populated, with just 27 inhabitants per square kilometre compared with the national average of 75.

Geographically, Extremadura borders the regions of Castilla y León to the north, Castilla La Mancha to the east and Andalusia to the south, with Portugal forming the border to the west. Extremadura has no coastline but two major rivers cross the region from east to west: the River Guadiana, which runs south through Portugal to reach the coast on the easternmost Algarve, and the River Tajo (Tagus in English) which flows west to reach the Atlantic in Lisbon. The climate of Extremadura is similar to that of northern Andalusia – winters are relatively mild and summers can be, and often are, very hot.

Essentially a rural region, Extremadura has a variety of landscapes. In many places mountainous and with an abundance of water, the region’s many nature reserves are a haven for an exceptional variety of wildlife. In particular, above Monfragüe Nature Park (one of the largest of these reserves, between Trujillo and Plasencia) the sky is dotted with tawny vultures, black storks, golden eagles, peregrine falcons and Egyptian vultures. At ground level foxes, wildcats, badgers and especially lynx inhabit the region’s many forests. And everywhere there are storks with their nests on houses, churches, belfries, rooftops, traffic lights, radio masts...

Known as the land of the Conquistadores, Extremadura provided a significant number of the noblemen, friars and adventurers who – following the return of Columbus from his voyages of discovery – embarked upon the colonisation of the Americas. Statues of many of these ‘worthies’, including Francisco Pizarro and Hernán Cortes, can be found throughout the region.

The principal cities of Extremadura are Badajoz, Cáceres, Plasencia and Mérida – all steeped in history with perhaps Badajoz, due no doubt to its proximity to the Portuguese border, developing more than the others into a modern commercial metropolis. Cáceres, a university city, is well worth visiting, its historic quarter having been bestowed with the title of World Heritage City and considered the third monumental ensemble in Europe. Plasencia, founded in the 12th century by king Alfonso VIII, boasts an important artistic heritage which has merited its declaration as an Ensemble of Historical and Cultural Interest.

Special mention, however, must be made of Mérida, the capital city of Extremadura. Mérida was also the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, and an important centre during the spread of Christianity. Founded in the year 25 BC the city retains many remarkably well preserved examples of Roman architecture including the Roman Theatre, the huge Amphitheatre, the Arch of Trajan (a triumphal arch dedicated to the Emperor Trajan) and the Roman Bridge, one of the largest of its kind with 60 arches and over 800 metres in length. The monuments of Mérida were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

The cuisine of Extremadura is typified by centuries old recipes, such as the varieties of lamb dishes adapted from the Moors, and by making use of the excellent agricultural produce available throughout the region in many versions of soups and stews. Also particularly good are the cured meats from the areas using the name ‘Dehesa Extremeña’, and freshwater fish (trout, tench) from the rivers. The region produces several excellent cheeses from ewe’s milk and goat’s milk, a notable and delicious example being ‘Casar de Cáceres’. Both Islamic and monastic influences are discernible in the region’s wide range of desserts and other sweet treats. Extremadura produces both red and white wines, and a sparkling ‘cava’, and for the more adventurous two liqueurs of note – one made from cherries and the other from acorns. Should anyone really want to know, the latter is produced in the hills of La Vera in the north-east of the region.