Friday, December 7, 2012

Trujillo, Cáceres, Mérida and Guadalupe, Spain

Scott, Beverly, and Miriam (a fellow temple missionary) traveled to Extremadura and four of the major historical cities there.

We spent the first day (after our shift at the temple) traveling to Trujillo, where we spent the night in the Palacio de Santa Marta (a medieval palace converted into a modern hotel). We visited the Castle of Trujillo:
Trujillo Castle, a Moorish fortress from the 9th century.
Beverly and Scott at the battlements of the Trujillo Castle on a cold wintry December day:

The next day was Sunday, so we drove to nearby Cáceres and attended church at the little branch there. Here we are with the two wonderful missionaries from the Spain Málaga Mission, Elder Pina and Elder Gomes:

We went to the historical center of Cáceres. The Plaza Mayor was filled with people and with a huge tent covering a temporary ice-skating rink:

We climbed to the top of the Tower of Bujaco and walked along the old city wall, with its great view of the city:

Then we drove to the historic city of Mérida, which was established by the Roman Empire in 25 B.C. and became the capital of the westernmost province of the Roman Empire, the province of Lusitania in what the Romans called Hispania, which became Spain. This is the longest existing Roman bridge in the world, spanning the Río Guadiana:

The Alcazaba in Mérida is a  9th-century Arab (Muslim) fortification, but on the site of, and using stones from, an earlier Roman fortress:

The most spectacular ruins in Mérida are the Amphitheater and the Theater, a Roman complex built in the 1st century A.D. This is the Amphitheater, which is a gladiator ring:

Scott and Beverly pose in front of the Roman Theater, where theatrical performances were held (and are still held today) as well as Roman senate meetings and other political and social functions:

Mérida also has a Roman Forum, the city center of Roman life in the 1st and 2nd centures A.D. This is the so-called Temple of Diana:

Another spectacular sight in Mérida is the Miracle Aqueduct, also built by the Romans in the first century:

The last stop on our trip was Guadalupe, Spain, located in the Guadalupe Mountains. This is the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe (built in the 13th centuy), one of the most sacred sites in Spain and object of Catholic pilgrimages to see the Black Madonna, that the Catholics believe was carved by Saint Luke the Evangelist (the image has turned black from centuries of lamp smoke):

The front facade of the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe:

It was an unforgettable trip back into the ancient history of Spain.

1 comment:

  1. Those Roman ruins in Merida are amazing! I had no idea something like that exists in Spain.