Cáceres


Cáceres

Spain
      city, capital of Cáceres provincia (province), in Extremadura comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), western Spain. It is built on a low east-west ridge south of the Tagus River and about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Badajoz. Cáceres originated as the Roman town of Norba Caesarina, came under Moorish control in the 9th century, and was known as Alkazares until reconquered for the Christians by Alfonso IX of Leon in 1229. The military Order of Santiago (Santiago, Order of) (originally the Fratres de Cáceres) was founded there in 1171 to protect the town during a brief interim of Christian rule.

      The old upper city is surrounded by massive, turreted walls that are half Roman and half Moorish. This part of the town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986, has several medieval palaces and is dominated by the tower of the Gothic-style Church of San Mateo, built in the 16th century on the site of a mosque. Other landmarks include Santa María la Mayor Church (15th century) and the Casa de Toledo-Moctezuma, once the home of the conquistador Juan Cano. The modern lower city contains law courts, the city hall, and the palace of the bishops of Coria. A branch of the University of Extremadura is in the city.

      Cáceres produces cork and leather goods, pottery, and cloth and exports grain, fruit, oil, livestock, wool, sausages, and phosphates from nearby mines. It is well known for its hams. The service industry is the mainstay of the economy. Cáceres acts as a trade centre for most of the province. Pop. (2006 est.) 89,419.

      provincia (province) of the Extremadura comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), western Spain, bordering Portugal to the west. The Tagus River runs through the province. Conquered by Alfonso IX from the Moors in 1229, it became part of the kingdom of León, and it was made a province of Spain in 1833. Mountainous areas in the extreme north and south are formed by the Central and Toledo mountains, respectively; their landscape and wildlife are preserved by a nature park created in 1979 at Monfrague. The remainder of the province is a fertile plain irrigated by the Tagus River and its tributaries. The Gabriel y Galán dam, on the Alagón River, is a source of hydroelectric power and irrigation.

      Cáceres is primarily an agricultural (cereals, tobacco, tomatoes, peppers) and cattle-raising region. Large flocks of sheep are pastured along the Tagus River during the winter. Pig raising is also important, and there are numerous evergreen, oak, and cork tree forests that are as yet little exploited. Valle del Jerte is one of Spain's most important cherry-producing regions. The province includes Las Hurdes, which historically was one of the poorest regions in Spain. Industry is mainly concentrated in Cáceres city, the provincial capital. Area 7,671 square miles (19,868 square km). Pop. (2007 est.) 411,531.

Vicente Rodriguez
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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