The city of Badajoz is the most populated city of Extremadura, it has over 149,000 inhabitants. It is also the capital of the province of Badajoz. It has a continental Mediterranean climate, which means that the winters are smooth, with temperatures between 3 and 13°C, and extremely hot summers, with temperatures that can reach 45°C (the record temperature)
The economy is based on the services sector and attracts many Portuguese customers, thanks to the proximity of Badajoz to the Portuguese border.
Every year the Festival Ibérico de Cine (Iberian Movie Festival), a festival for short films, is held in Badajoz, attracting directors from all over Spain.
The carnival of Badajoz is one of the most famous of Spain and attracts more people every year.
Prehistoric remains have indicated that in this age there were already people living here, but foundation of the city took place in 875 by order of Ibn Marwan, an outcast of mixed origins (Christian/Arab) who was expelled from Seville but who was allowed to build a new city. The city flourished in a short period and became the most important city that was founded by Spanish Arabs. It was independent several times, but mostly the city belonged to the Taifa of Badajoz, which extended across a large part of Portugal and all of Extremadura.
The Reconquista arrived in 1230 when King Alfonso IX defeated the Arabs.
The city suffered from a period of decay that was caused by depopulation, but because the city was an important border outpost it received financial help and recovered. In 1580 King Felipe II left from Badajoz with his army in order to conquer Portugal. Without war the city flourished again between 1580 and 1640. During the Portuguese war for Restoration and the Spanish war for Succession the city was attacked numerous times, therefore we hardly find any buildings from this era.
In the 19th century the city suffered from the War for Independence and was taken by the French and later by the English, and was looted by both of them. Near the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century the city grew again, the centre developed and new neighbourhoods were constructed outside the city walls, but disaster struck again when during the Civil War Franco’s troops invaded the city. After the war the city grew until the 1960s when large migrations to other parts of Spain took place. The primary economic activities moved away from the primary sector to the tertiary sector. Nowadays Badajoz is the economical centre of Extremadura.
Monuments of Badajoz
The Alcazaba was built by the founder of the city, Ibn Marwan, very shortly after the foundation of the city. The exact year is unknown but documents from that era indicate that the first restoration took place in 913, placing construction somewhere between 875 and 913. A century later in 1030 it was restored once again, and again in 1169, when the building as we know it nowadays was constructed. The final restoration took place in the 13th century, only a couple of years before the Reconquista by King Alfonso IX. The Alcazaba is situated on top of a hill at 60 metres above sea level and measures 400 by 200 metres. It is completely walled and reinforced with towers that served for the defence of the Alcazaba and the city. The majority of these towers are directed towards the south and west, those being the most likely routes of attack.
The Espantaperros Toward
In the southwest of the Alcanzaba we find the Torre de la Atalaya, better know as “Espantaperros”. It an octagonal tower from the almohade era and it measures 30 metres. The structure reminds of the Torre de Oro in Seville. It counts as one of the most characteristic monuments of Badajoz.
Built in the 1930s, the Giralda is an edifice that was designed by Rodolfo Martinez and Abel Pinna. In the construction they copied the Giralda of Seville on a smaller scale. Nowadays it houses an office for Telefónica, but it still is worth a visit. The people from Badajoz call it La Giraldilla.
The Puerta de Palmas
The Puerta de Palmas consists of two round towers from the 16th century that are connected by a double arch. It was part of the medieval network of walls that surrounded the city, but now it stands alone, across the street from the Puente de Palmas. The inner arch shows the coat of arms of Carlos V, but the gate contains a lot of inscriptions, family weapons and statues of Spanish kings. An interesting fact is that the gate was used as a state prison during the 19th century.