Trujillo’s rich cultural heritage

The charming town of Trujillo can be found in a forgotten corner of Spain’s Extremadura province, 260km west of Madrid and 300km north of Seville. Distilled into its compact centre is the very essence of Spain: gastronomic delights, bustling plazas and of course, history in spades. Here are some of the best places to visit to complete your Trujillo cultural heritage tour.

Trujillo Cultural Heritage Tour: Trujillo's castle
Trujillo’s castle

Trujillo Cultural Heritage Tour

Dominating the skyline is the Alcazaba, the old Arab fortress whose ramparts afford sweeping panoramas of the surrounding countryside. Nearby, a climb up the spiral staircase in the beautiful church of Santa Maria La Mayor will be rewarded with equally impressive views. Tumbling down the granite outcrop to the Plaza Mayor below is a maze of narrow alleyways and historic mansions that make Trujillo’s old town one of the most atmospheric in the country. Best of all, this part of Spain lacks the crowds that flock to Andalusia’s pueblos blancos, or to characterful cities like Segovia and Toledo, which are just that little bit closer to the capital.

Looking down on the Plaza Mayor from the church tower
Looking down on the Plaza Mayor from the church tower

Trujillo was once home to conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his brothers. In the main square, an imposing statue of Pizarro stands proudly outside the Iglesia San Martin, gazing across to his former mansion. But all is not what it seems, perhaps. The statue was originally intended to represent Hernán Cortés, the conquistador that set his sights on Mexico rather than Pizarro’s Peru. But the American sculptor who designed it hadn’t reckoned on a reluctance on Mexico’s part to house the statue, and some say instead he offered it to Trujillo and passed it off as Pizarro. Whether that’s true or not, it’s still a fine statue.

Francisco Pizarro (aka Hernán Cortés) Statue in Trujillo
Francisco Pizarro (aka Hernán Cortés) Statue in Trujillo

The Plaza Mayor is ringed with historic mansions and rich in Trujillo cultural heritage. Most notable is that of the Pizarro family. Look up and you’ll see carvings in the stonework of Pizarro and his family. To learn more about Pizarro’s exploits in Peru, it’s well worth climbing the hill to the museum dedicated to his life. Other palaces to admire on a Trujillo cultural heritage tour include that of the Dukes of San Carlos, which dates from the 16th century, and the Palace of the Marquis of Piedras Albas, a Renaissance building constructed by Pedro Suarez de Toledo. Many of these mansions are characterised by angular balconies and myriad architectural flourishes.

Trujillo Cultural Heritage Tour: Yemas de Pizarro
Yemas de Pizarro

No visit to Trujillo, and Extremadura, can be complete without sampling the delicious cuisine of the area. You won’t want to pass up the chance to try creamy goat’s cheese, rich salty ham and filling plates of caldereta stew. And in a tiny bakery just off the main square, check out Yemas de Pizarro, Trujillo’s take on the sugary baked egg yolk treats that melt in your mouth. One, most emphatically, will not be enough.

About JuliaHammond

Website: http://www.juliahammond.co.uk

Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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