I've been living in Extremadura for a year now, and the sense of history, rural quietness and peace here is remarkable. I have written quite a lot about the city I live in (Caceres), but today I wanted to focus on another city in Extremadura, Trujillo. With around 12,000 people living there, it's a lot smaller than Caceres, but actually has some very similar features and sights that make it really worth visiting. The city is fairly unknown to outsiders, but to people who live in Extremadura, it's a city full of energy, festivals and a great place for a weekend away.
Before Spain sent out explorers and soldiers across the seas to capture and hold new lands, the people of Extremadura were poor and lacking opportunities. Because of this and the very tough nature of the people themselves, they made the very best conquistadors! Trujillo was the birthplace of the three brothers who conquered Peru for the Spanish empire in the early 16th Century. The man, Francisco Pizarro was even a cousin of Hernan Cortes (also born in Extremadura). Nowadays you can see a proud and powerful statue of Pizarro in the main square.
There is no better time to visit Trujillo than over the Easter weekend. Easter Sunday particularly, as on this day, the entire town comes out to the main square to celebrate 'Chiviri'. This unique festival involves singing, dancing, drums, food and drink as well as some typical costumes. People have been gathering for the 'Chiviri' for more than 200 years, and the tradition is as strong today as when it started. My first few months in Spain were repeatedly marked by surprise over the sheer willingness and enthusiasm that Spaniards have for any and every kind of party. I have never seen a group of people so eager to have fun!
Another strange but absolutely brilliant event that happens in Trujillo in the annual National Cheese Festival. This small historical town of 10,000 people hosts ten times that number during this May celebration of all things cheesy (along with plenty of wine).
Occupying the highest land point for miles around, Trujillo Castle is a dominating presence over this small town, and shows just how important this region was in the past. Like much of southern Spain, the castle is a mix of 9th and 10th Century Arab constructions, and then additions from Spanish builders in the 13th and 14th Century. Because of the height of the castle (and all the stairs you'll need to climb to reach the top), the views from the castle walls are fantastic!
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