Have you been following our journey around Spain? If you have, then you know that I took the family to Spain back in late May and started in Madrid, made our way NW over to the spectacular Walls of Ávila, continued 154 km SW to our first stop in Extremadura, the city of Plasencia, and then a short drive south through Monfragüe National Park, the largest and best preserved Mediterranean forest worldwide. So, our next stop on our Extremadura itinerary was the medieval city of Trujillo, a short 40 minute drive south.
Trujillo is one of the oldest cities in Spain being formally established by the Romans in 206 BCE. It has been inhabited by Romans, Visigoths, Muslims and Jews before being passed into Christian hands after being conquered in 1232 by King Fernando III. It was monarch Juan II that gave Trujillo the title of city in 1430.
In the 16th century, Trujillo experienced an age of great splendor due to its important role in the discovery of America. The city was the home of two great conquerors: Francisco de Pizarro, discoverer of Peru, and Francisco de Orellana who discovered the Amazon River and founded the city of Guayaquil in what is now Ecuador.
The city is structured around the monumental Plaza Mayor square, which is presided over by a bronze-cast statue of Pizarro on horseback. Over the centuries it has been the center of social and commercial life of the city. On our first night in Trujillo, we had dinner in the Plaza with a starter dish of jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), a type of cured ham made from free-range black Iberian pigs that is especially popular in the Extremadura region of Spain and Portugal. Just sitting outside in that historic plaza as the sun began to set, the sky bustling with wheeling packs of small birds (Common and Pallid Swifts) flying from one historic building to the next across the plaza (a common sight in every city we visited in Extremadura), made for a truly magical evening.
Trujillo is a city you shouldn’t miss – here are a few photographs I took walking the Plaza Mayor. Oh, and they just seemed to work best in black and white, enjoy…
A 19-ft. high equestrian statue of Francisco de Pizarro, by American sculptor Charles Cary Rumsey (1879–1922), is the centerpiece of Trujillo’s Plaza Mayor. The sculpture was exhibited in 1915 at the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. After Rumsey’s death in 1922, his widow presented the sculpture to the city of Trujillo in 1925.
Adjacent to the sculpture of Pizarro is Church of San Martín. Its construction began in the fourteenth century and continued for more than a century, and was completed with important modifications on its initial trace during the second half of the sixteenth century, around 1564.
Atop the Church of San Martín and just about every other high point of the plaza, storks make their homes…
Statue of Don Ramón Núñez Martín, “Adopted Son of Trujillo”, adorns the Plaza outside the Church of San Martín. Núñez was a priest in Trujillo for 46 years before passing away in 2012 at the age of 92. The statue, by sculptor Ricardo García Lozano, was unveiled at the Plaza in a special ceremony on October 2012.
Dinner crowd starting to arrive at the Plaza…
Palacio del Marqués de la Conquista began to be built in 1562 by master stonesman Sancho de Cabrera. Among its architectural elements stands out a huge balcony in one of its corners crowned by an immense shield flanked by the arms of Carlos V.
Trujillo’s Plaza Mayor – put this place on your list of places to visit in Spain. Learn more about visiting Trujillo at www.turismoextremadura.com