Old Town, Caceres Spain

Old Town Caceres Spain, stone walls, cobblestone streets, and church towers

Old Town Caceres Spain, stone walls, cobblestone streets, and church towers 

We spent almost a week in Caceres Spain, walking the street of the old town, visiting the Churches, cafe’s and bell towers; there is so much to show you, but for now just a few of the quiet streets and alleyways….

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Caceres Spain

Old Town; Caceres Spain

Old Town; Caceres Spain

We have spent a few days visiting the city of Cacres Spain, wandering the streets of the old town. Cáceres was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city’s blend of Roman, Moorish and  Italian Renaissance Architecture.  Thirty towers from the Islamic period still stand in Cáceres I was standing in the bell tower of the Santa Maria, and was able to get a great view of the streets and of the Church of Francisco Javier and it’s two white towers that is visible from almost anywhere in the city. snail_IMG_6880 We are moving through Spain at a snail’s pace, but enjoying every minute, warm sunshine, great food, and most importantly friendly helpful people. We are amassing a large number of photographs, with no time for processing and that is as Martha Stewart would say “a good thing”

2nd Century Glass at the National Museum of Roman Art, Merida Spain

2nd Century Roman Glass

2nd Century Roman Glass 

These delicate glass bowls were just three of the beautiful pieces we found lining the shelves and walls of the National Museum of Roman Art in Merida Spain. Archaeological excavations in Merida were begun in the late nineteenth century, and numerous monuments, statures, and other artifacts have been recovered.

The primary goal was to build a museum that would offer people an opportunity to understand aspects of the town’s Roman heritage, the building is it’s self a unique structure using techniques and building materials similar to, but not a strict imitation of Roman Architecture.

National Museum of Roman Art, Merida Spain

National Museum of Roman Art, Merida Spain 

We spent a couple of hours wandering the three levels of the museum, enthralled by both the building and it’s contents, and would recommend a visit to anyone visiting Merida Spain.

Los Milagros Aqueduct, Merida Spain

Los Miagros Acqueduct, Merida Spain

Los Milagros aqueduct, Merida Spain 

The Los Milagros aqueduct was built between 1 B.C. and 3 A.D., it was 830 meters long and 25 meters high, made of brick and concrete it was faced with granite ashlars. It was used to transport water from the Prosperina lake to the Roman colony of Emerita Augusta know today as Merida Spain. Today about 38 arches still stand.

Los Milagros aqueduct, Merida Spain

Los Milagros aqueduct, Merida Spain  

The Los Milagros aqueduct is one of three aqueducts build in the area, and preserved as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Merida.

 

Walking with the Romans: Part 2

Roman Bridge over the River Guadiana. Merida Sapin

Roman Bridge over the River Guadiana. Merida Sapin

Merida is not a large place, with a population of around 64,000 people. A pleasant place, it is not different from many other Spanish towns, with friendly people, many bars and restaurants with one exception, that being that as being one of the Roman Empires capitals in the Iberian Peninsula it is home to some of the best preserved Roman Ruins in Europe. As a result in 1993 it was established as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.The town was founded in 25 BC, with the name of Emerita Augusta which means discharged soldiers – of the army of Augustus, who founded the city; the current name Mérida was derive from this, changed and altered by its conquest by the Muslims and other down through history. Its main purpose for all these conquers was to protect a bridge over the River Guadiana.

The path of the Camino Pilgrim will take you over this bridge with 64 granite arches that remain intact and in use to this day as a pedestrian walkway and is one of the longest Roman bridges remaining in existence.  At the end of this bridge stands the Alcazaba a fortress that was initially built by the Romans, but later occupied by the Moors. Over it main gate you will find a reference dedicating it to Allah.

from the Alcazaba in Merida Spain.

from the Alcazaba in Merida Spain.

In more recent history it was taken and occupied by Napoleon, and both opposing side of the Spanish Civil Wars, such was its strategic importance. Further into the town you will find sitting side by side, a Roman Forum and Theatre. The former similar to that found in Italica, was use for gladiator fights and as you proceeds down the stairs into the ring it offers life-size mock ups of the different types of gladiators, their specific armour and who they would normally fight. However of the two the theatre is the most spectacular. While breathtaking as a tourist attraction, it is still used for plays and festivals by the local population.

Roman Forum, Merida Spain

Roman Forum, Merida Spain

Roman Amphitheater, Merida Spain

Roman Amphitheater, Merida Spain

Equally as spectacular is the Temple of Diana. Surprisingly this building is surrounded by a simple fence low fence to protect it from errant tourists, is located close to the centre of town on one of Merida many pedestrian walkways, such that hundreds of working Spaniards walk by it ever day on the way to and from work.

Temple Diana, Merida Spain

Temple Diana, Merida Spain

more great stories and architecture tomorrow….

Text by W.E.Foreman Photos by JMeyersForeman

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain,

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain on a Saturday night

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain on a Saturday night 

We were sitting having a glass of wine in the Plaza Mayor, here in Merida last night. It was full of kids playing, parents with strollers, and old people walking hand in hand.  Thought out the square there are about 4 or 5 Tapa bars where music was playing, and people were visiting. I decided a long exposure showing people moving about was a wonderful way of capturing the light, and the life of the square.

Almendralejo: Church of Our Lady of Purification

Almendralejo: Church of Our Lady of Purification

Almendralejo: Church of Our Lady of Purification 

After finishing the day’s walk along the Via la Plata, our usual routine is to have a shower, wash our walking cloths and have a short nap. Then once cleaned up and rested we will have a walk around the town checking out the sights and the cafe’s.  Just a couple of days ago were in Almendralejo when we came across the Church of our Lady of Purification.

We were in awe of the stunning fresco’s in the Gothic Church. As there were parishioners seated in prayer and the priest was walking to the alter it was obvious that the Service was just about to begin. While this maybe a historic site to see, study and enjoy, it is also a Holy site for many, and a place of worship for the congregation. We sat quietly near the door for a few minutes, soaking up the beauty around us, I click of a few photos as discreetly as possible just prior to the Service beginning and we quietly left.

This is one of many moments that I wish we spoke more than what I call “restaurant” Spanish! I would have loved to stay until after the Service to talk to the Priest, to learn more about this history of the church and ask for permission to photograph the lovely frescos at a time that was not so busy.

Almendralejo: Church of Our Lady of Purification

Almendralejo: Church of Our Lady of Purification

Day 1, Via la Plata; Seville to Santiponce Spain

Via la Plata, marker #1 outside the Seville Cathedral

Via la Plata, marker #1 outside the Seville Cathedral

Today we started our camino to Santiago de Compostela, following the ancient route called the Via la Plata from Seville to Santiago de Compostela.  We walked about 10k to Sanitponce, just outside Seville, this is not a traditional pilgrim destination on the camino, but we wanted to stop and explore the archeological site of Italica. The short distance also gives our legs and feet a chance to get use to the extra weight of the backpack. The sights from central Seville to Santiponce varied as much as any walk from the typical urban centre to the countryside,

sleeping baby, large mural in Seville

sleeping baby, large mural in Seville

oxen working the field

oxen working the field

carriage ride in the country

carriage ride in the country

we found the route to be well-marked with the yellow arrows.

yellow arrows of the camino to Santiago de Compostela

yellow arrows of the camino to Santiago de Compostela

We arrived at Santiponce mid afternoon, in time to visit Itallica, more about this historic site a little later.

Roman Statue at Italica

Roman Statue at Italica

 

 

 

 

 

Galeries Lafeyette, Paris France

Galeries Lafayette, Paris France

Galeries Lafayette, Paris France

One of the best time about visiting Paris is the wonderful architecture.  Here the beautiful cupola of the Galeries Lafeyette, a shopping store in the fashion district. I love the beautiful lines, gorgeous detail, it is hard to believe that it is department store, with cloths, watches, bedding, and just like other department stores there is a food court on the top floor.