Plaza de Santa María & Around

sights / Squares & plazas

Plaza de Santa María & Around information

Cáceres , Spain
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Enter the Ciudad Monumental from Plaza Mayor through the 18th-century Arco de la Estrella , built wide for the passage of carriages. The Concatedral de Santa María , a 15th-century Gothic cathedral, creates an impressive opening scene. At its southwestern corner is a modern statue of San Pedro de Alcántara, a 16th-century extremeño ascetic (his toes worn shiny by the hands and lips of the faithful). Inside, there's a magnificent carved 16th-century cedar altarpiece, noble tombs and chapels, and a small ecclesiastical museum featuring monstrances and priestly vestments. Climb the bell tower for views.

Also on the plaza are the Palacio Episcopal , the Palacio de Mayoralgo and the Palacio de Ovando , all in 16th-century Renaissance style. Just off the plaza's northeastern corner is the Palacio Carvajal . Within this late-15th-century mansion, there's a modern display on the province's attractions and the provincial tourist board, which can help out with information on the region.

Just to the west of the plaza lies the domed Palacio Toledo-Moctezuma , once home of a daughter of the Aztec emperor Moctezuma, brought to Cáceres as a conquistador's bride; the palace now houses the municipal arch­ives. Heading back through Arco de la Estrella, you can climb the 12th-century Torre de Bujaco , home to an interpretative display. From the top there's a good stork's-eye view of the Plaza Mayor.