Cceres (Extremadura, Spain) is a city of a population of 80.000 which is located in the west of the country and which borders on Portugal. The centre of Cceres consists of an ancient medieval nucleus world-reknowned for the value of its history and heritage, which have earned it the honor of various national and international administrative and institutional recognitions (for example, Historical and Artistic Collection of Monuments as designated by the Spanish Government, World Heritage City as declared by the UNESCO, third best preserved collection of urban monuments in Europe, among others).
Source: Cultural Contact Point
Cceres is old and rich in history even by European standards. There are traces of stoneage population, the Celts settled here. The Romans founded the city proper in 34 BC, the Arabs took it in the 12th century -- the name "Cceres" stems from the Arab "Quazri". The city was ruled by monks and Spanish kings, Isabella among them (this is a Lois McMaster Bujold reference, never mind if you don't understand).
As if all this history and culture wasn't enough, it was also Semana Santa during our stay and I tell you, the Ccereos take their religion seriously. The processions with daily altering costumes and barges displaying Jesus on his donkey on Palm Sunday (going downhill from there) and the Virgin Mary in descending stages of mouring are fascinating even for non-Catholics, as my father assured me. The fervor and enthusiasm with which young and old alike walk the rounds several times a day is astounding. I'm sorry that we didn't get to see the Easter Sunday processions which must be fantastic. Thousands of fresh flowers decorate the barges, delicate ornaments made from light deprived palm fronds, armor with the double-headed Habsburg eagle and S.P.Q.R. stamped on them, drums, marching bands, Spanish women wearing mantillas... it's really something. But that is not all that is to Cceres. Over the next few days, I'll tell you all about it, and then some. We've also been to Mrida, Guadelupe, Alcntara, and to a real Finca Extremea. We ate jamn ibrico and merluza. We saw rocks and birds and monasteries. Oh, yes. And there was a wedding.
But, we had a long trip home yesterday - four hours car trip, three hours flight, another two hours car trip. "Siesta" is the word of the day. However, we're back and back online. Hi, everyone.