Plasencia


Plasencia

Plasencia is a walled market city in the province of Cáceres and part of the region of Extremadura (at the Douro's river 'extreme') in Western Spain. Population (±) 41,000 (2006).

On the bank of the Jerte River, in the Extremaduran province of Caceres, Plasencia has a historic quarter that is a consequence of the city's strategic location along the Silver Route, or "Ruta de la Plata". Since the 15th century, the noblemen of the region began to move to Plasencia, defining its current appearance. Palaces, ancestral homes and significant religious buildings make up a unique old quarter. Plasencia's "Parador de Turismo" (Inn) is located in an old convent.

History

Founded as a city in 1186 by King Alfonso VIII of Castile on the banks of the Jerte as a city-fortress, with the double purpose of colonizing and guarding the then south-western border of the Kingdom, it fell briefly to the Moors of Yaqub al-Mansur in 1196, being reconquered for good the year after. The city walls, which have stood since 1198, boasted seventy towers, eight gates and a huge "Alcázar" (Keep) in its highest, northernmost point. Most of it remains except the "Alcázar", which was demolished in 1941 to make way to a collection of apartment buildings. The focal point of the old city, however, was and, after more than eight hundred years, still is the market square ("Plaza Mayor"), where a weekly tax-free market has been in operation every Tuesday since the foundation of the city. The right to hold this market among other special rights and privileges were granted by the King in its "Fueros Fundacionales" (Foundational Royal Charter).

In 1189, by request of Alfonso VIII, Plasencia was declared head of dioceses by Pope Clement III and work on a Romanesque Cathedral started shortly after, concluding sometime in the 18th century, by which time fashions had changed and Gothic elements had been added in the forms of pointed archs to the Nave and a rose window to the main South Entrance, while the cloister, on the East side bordering the city walls, was enterely Gothic.

Not quite happy with the result, in the 15th century the Dioceses decided to build a grand Gothic Cathedral in the same site, demolishing the old cathedral as the new one was being built. Work started in 1498 and by the 16th century, standard Renaissance elements had been added such as the East Entrance and the elaborate Choir Seating, while the local style of the period, Plateresco, is present in the West (main) and the Presbytery Entrances. Work continued until the 18th century, when, with only the Sanctuary and the Transept of the New Cathedral finished, the project was abandoned leaving behind a somewhat odd result, as most of the Nave of the Old Cathedral, its cloister and its unique Octagonal Tower housing the "Sala Capitular" Chapel is still attached to the New Cathedral, while the new choir, that was supposed to stand along the New Nave, was positioned across the transept.

The city remained under direct Royal rule until John II of Castile gave it to the House of Zúñiga in 1442 abolishing its "Fuero". This encountered the opposition of the local nobles and the general population at large and resulted in periodicals revolts throughout the second half of the 15th century. In this hostile climate against the crown, in 1475 Plasencia played host to the wedding of 13-year-old Princess Joan "La Betraneja", pretender to the throne of Castile and her ambitious uncle King Afonso V of Portugal. After La Beltraneja's cause was defeated in the Battle of Toro, Plasencia paid the penalty and the Castilian Crown capped the towers of the noble's palaces. The "Fuero" was eventually restored in 1488. The shortened Tower of the venue of the wedding, "La Casa de Las Argollas", is still standing in Calle del Rey, just off Plaza Mayor.

ights, festivals and cuisine

Iberian and Retinto meats have a tough competitor in this city: roasted suckling lamb from La Vera. The specialities of the local cuisine include "migas" (breadcrumbs with Spanish sausage and bacon), casseroles, stews and tench, an exceptional freshwater game fish.

Typical festivals:June fair Plasencia, At the beginning of the month'Martes Mayor' Plasencia, the first Tuesday of AugustProcession and Festivities of la Virgen del Puerto Plasencia, first Sunday after Easter SundayFair of the Cherry-tree in flower El Jerte Valley

Visits:Old quarter and various sights, Cathedral (13th-14th century), Palace of the Marquis of Mirabel, Stately Homes (De las Infantas, Palacio Monroy, Casa del Deán, etc). City Walls, Gates and Bridges

Coat of arms

The coat of arms consists of a castle flanked on either side by a chestnut tree and a pine tree, a duchal crown on the crest and surrounded with the motto: "Ut Placeat Deo Et Hominibus" (To Please God and Mankind). The flag has two horizontal bands, violet at the top and green at the bottom.

ee also

*Roman Catholic Diocese of Plasencia

Notable residents

Plasencia was the birthplace of:
*Rock guitarist, songwriter, singer and bandleader Roberto Iniesta (b. 1962)

External links

* [http://www.verextremadura.com]
* [http://www.aytoplasencia.es]

* [http://usuarios.lycos.es/cosmegomez/PAGINAS/GALERIA.html Photos]
*CathEncy|wstitle=Plasencia


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