After crossing the border, we arrive at Badajoz, which is our first stop in Spain.
Badajoz is the capital of the Province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain. It is situated close to the Portuguese border, on the left bank of the river Guadiana.
Originally a roman settlement its previous name was Civitas Pacensis. Badajoz was conquered by the Moors in the 8th century, and became a Moorish kingdom, the Taifa of Badajoz. After the reconquista, the area was disputed between Spain and Portugal for several centuries with alternating control resulting in several wars.
The Alcazaba fortress is the most notable structure in the city which attests to the Moorish culture in Badajoz. It was the only important fort on the southern Portuguese frontier during the 17th and 18th centuries and controlled the routes of southern Portugal and Andalusia and was a staging point for invasions against Portugal.
The 13th-century Badajoz Cathedral (converted from a mosque in 1238) is in the old city and its architecture is indicative of the tempestuous history of Badajoz, resembling a fortress, with its massive walls.
Leaving Badajoz and driving around 62 kms we arrive to Mérida:
Mérida is a city and municipality of Spain and part of the Province of Badajoz. Mérida (known as Emerita Augusta) was founded as a Roman colony in 25 BC under the order of the emperor Augustus to serve as a retreat for the veteran soldiers (emeritus) of the legions V Alaudae and X Gemina.
The city, one of the most important in Roman Hispania, had all the comforts of a large Roman city and served as capital of the Roman province of Lusitania since its founding.
Following invasions from the Visigoths, Mérida remained an important city of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania in the 6th century.
In the 713, the city was conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate, and remained under Muslim rule. The Mozarabic people of the city rebelled repeatedly against the Caliphate authorities in the 9th century and the city began a slow decline.
After the Almohad rule, Mérida was seized by Alfonso IX of León in 1230.
Among the remaining Roman monuments are:
Puente Romano - The Puente Romano, a bridge over the Guadiana River that is still used by pedestrians, and the longest of all existing Roman bridges.
Alcazaba - Near the bridge is a fortification (the Alcazaba), built by the Muslim emir Abd ar-Rahman II in 835 on the Roman walls and Roman-Visigothic edifices in the area. The court houses Roman mosaics, while underground is a Visigothic cistern.
Remains of the Forum, including the Temple of Diana, and of the Roman Provincial Forum, including the so-called Arch of Trajan
Remains of the Circus Maximus (1st century BC), one of the best preserved Roman circus buildings
Acueducto de los Milagros - Acueducto de los Milagros (aqueduct of Miracles)
Patrician villa called the Villa Mitreo, with precious mosaic pavements
Proserpina Dam and Cornalvo Dam, two Roman reservoirs still in use
The Amphitheatre, and the Roman theatre,
Church of Santa Eulalia, dating to the 4th century but rebuilt in the 13th century. Its portico reuses parts of an ancient temple of Mars.
Temple of Diana.
After Mérida we drive 88 Kms to Trujillo:
Trujillo is a municipality located in Extremadura, an autonomous community of Spain in the Province of Cáceres.
Originally settled on a granite knoll which was readily fortified, the town now extends to the southeast of its original site. Trujillo is both a centre for tourism and a regional market town.
Trujillo has a rich heritage. Among the most important monuments are:
The Castle (Alcazaba)
The church of Santiago
The church of Santa María la Mayor
The church of San Francisco
The Church of San Martín
The Plaza Mayor
The palace of the Marquis of the Conquest
The palace of the Orellana-Pizarro family
The palace of the Duques de San Carlos
Marquesado de Piedras Albas
The walled old town
Navalmoral de la Mata stays at 72 Kms:
Navalmoral de la Mata
Navalmoral de la Mata is a municipality of Spain located in the province of Cáceres, and belongs to the autonomous community of Extremadura.
The municipality lies on central-western Iberia, in between the Tagus and Tiétar rivers.
Navalmoral is a good example of a working community, where you can feel the typical life of the spanish people.
Driving more 184 kms we are arriving to Madrid, which marks the end of our trip.