Caceres, capital of the northern province of Extremadura, is located in an area which for centuries and millenniums has been inhabited by different peoples and cultures from pre-historic times to the present. In the Maltravieso Cave, paintings have been found belonging to the Palaeolithic era, over 20,000 years old.
Two periods in it development have left their mark on today's monumental city: the Arab stronghold before it fell to the Christians in 1229, and the feudal city between the 14th and 16th C, when it was filled with palaces and towers of aristocratic families. This ancient urban complex full of its own personality was named a United Nations "World Heritage" city in 1986 or "Patrimonio de Humanidad".
The Almohade turned Cáceres into a stronghold and added a series of towers to the defensive system. Five rectangular towers still stand on the western side of the curtain walls, among them the famous Bujaco tower. In the south, there are two polygonal towers: Redonda and Desmochada; and in the east, the Tower of Los Pozos rises 30m above the ring road and is partly integrated in the battlements.
Medieval life in Cáceres was right out of the pages of a Shakespearean drama like Romeo and Juliet, with rival families similar to the Montagues and Capulets fighting each other in the streets from the safety of fortified palaces and towers. Feuds between the private armies of noble families often divided Cáceres in to warring factions. Examples of this feudal period were towers built not along the city wall to defend against foreign attackers, but towers erected inside the city to defend against hostile neighbors.
Churches and convents were also built, such as the Gothic Church of Santa María, which has cathedral status, Santiago, and San Mateo, which was built in the 14th C on the site of a mosque, and the Gothic Convent of San Francisco.
Cáceres, known in Roman times as Norba Caesarina, still maintains some walls built when it was founded in 29 B.C. Also remains of the Roman military outpost camps such as the Castra Caecilia known as Cáceres “El Viejo” can still be found near modern Cáceres.
However, the greatest historical and artistic heritage of Cáceres began in the Middle Ages: with the arrival of the Arab culture and the Almoravid domination, Cáceres was known by the name of Hizn Qazris. The ”Almohade” people rebuilt the city walls and Cáceres regained its strategic importance.
Inside the city, the most important Muslim
monument is a water storage facility or "aljibe" divided
into five parts with Arab horseshoe arches. This is the best example
of an aljibe outside of the Muslem world today. The layout of
the city streets and twisting alleys leading into small squares
is the most important legacy of the Almohad period.