The best thing to see in Olivenza, a beautiful border town in Extremadura

Olivenza from the Tower of Homage in the province of Badajoz

In our recent trip to Lake Alquevaborder territory between Spain and Portugal in Estremadura, we have discovered one of those pretty villages How much we like them.

Is about Olivenza, very beautiful town of the province of Badajoz, from which to get an idea of ​​his very special indiosyncrasy, you have to know a couple of very curious things.

On the one hand, the oliventinos and the descendants of oliventinos They have the right to double Spanish-Portuguese nationality, something very very rare, and on the other hand, this region was the last to join the territory of Spain.

Olivenza in the province of Badajoz in Extremadura

That's why this region in full Extremadura pasture It is so attractive, since it has been formed over the centuries of a transnationality that is especially palpable.

Olivenza is a walled city of Templar origin located less than 30 kilometers away south of Badajoz, on the eastern margin of Guadiana river, place that has always been on horseback between the domain of the Spaniards and the Portuguese.

Curiosities of the history of Olivenza

Much of the border between the two countries in this area is drawn through the aforementioned Guadiana river, which has meant that for many years it was a strategic combat zone.

In fact in Olivenza Older people speak Portuguese today, although it has been lost in the middle generations and even more in the younger ones.

Olivenza in the province of Badajoz in Extremadura

This has given rise to a double toponymy in the signaling of the streets of Olivenza, above the current name in Spanish, and below the old name in Portuguese.

At a monumental level,Olivenza stands out among other things for its walls, since it is one of the historical complexes with more walled extensions of the peninsula.

We must also highlight the churches with their samples of sacred art, especially the golden carvings and especially the Manueline art Portuguese.

Moreover, it is the only place in Spain where you can see an important presence of the aforementionedManueline art.

Olivenza It is a municipality that includes several villages such as Saint George of Alor, which stands out for its chimney of Alenteyan influence, Villarreal de Olivenza, with its link to Guadianaor Saint Benedict of the Contest, where you speak in better Portuguese.

Rincon de Olivenza next to Lake Alqueva in Extremadura

Many Jews when they were expelled from Spain settled in Portuguese towns near the border, as it was then Olivenza, which greatly increased at that time the presence of a Jewish community.

Olivenza, between Spain and Portugal

To deepen the Olivenza's story, we must go back to 1297 when an important agreement between Castile Y Portugal that would be known as theTreaty of Alcañices.

Through it a border is fixed from Galicia north to Andalusia in the south, which would later end up being the Spanish-Portuguese border.

As a consequence of the treaty, certain towns along the border are integrated into Castile, as is the case with Aroche Y Aracena, while others are integrated in Portugal, the case of Campo Maior and Olivenza.

Subsequently Olivenza It has gone through numerous avatars, with an era of splendor in the sixteenth century that had a lot to do with the overseas expansion of Portugal.

Rincon de Olivenza next to Lake Alqueva in Extremadura

There is another period also well known which is the time of the Felipes, which is as it is known in Portugal to the stage between 1580 and 1640 in which Spain Y Portugal They were together under one crown.

Yes for the aforementioned Treaty of Alcañices Olivenza takes a step towards Portugal, another agreement five centuries later, known as the Treaty of Badajoz in 1801, he approached Olivenza towards Spain

At that time, in its imperialist advance, Napoleon finds as the main obstacle to England and its maritime force and demands Portugal to close its seaports to the English.

Portugal cannot access this requirement of Napoleon and so GodoyDeclare war.

Spain, which at that time was dominated by the French, conquers several places in the Portuguese region of Alentejo, as is the case with Olivenza, with which he finally stays.

Olivenza in the province of Badajoz in Extremadura

The consequence is that Olivenza It is a unique place in the Iberian Peninsula that mixes Portuguese and Spanish forming a unique culture.

Therefore, the five centuries of Portuguese history and the two centuries of Spanish history cannot be forgotten here, since everything is part of the same history.

Places to see in Olivenza

The best way to visit Olivenza It is walking through its white-fronted streets, where tiles and walls are the protagonists.

Next we will indicate the best places to see in Olivenza.

Walls of Olivenza in the province of Badajoz in Extremadura

Alcazar and Tower of Homage

When in 1297 he joined Portugal,Olivenza it gains great relevance for its border position and, above all, for being on the right bank of the GuadianaWell, remember that the rest of Portugal is on the left bank.

It was like having one foot in Castile and very close to two other important strongholds, a Castilian, Badajoz, and another Portuguese, also nearby Elvas, city known as The key of Portugal, since if it was conquered, it was easily reached Lisbon.

Alfonso IV build the Alcazar, and at the intersection, the tower of tribute, the highest of the entire Spanish-Portuguese border.

This tower, which is really tall, has a physical reason, and that is because it is located Olivenza in a plain, what geography does not help had to be compensated with architecture.

But on the other hand there was the psychological element, since raising this tower so consistent was a way to make clear the power of Portugal before a border that was very easily vulnerable and very easy to cross the Spaniards.

Olivenza in the province of Badajoz in Extremadura

This tower was part of an old border with 12 watchtowers, of which only five are preserved today in high points of the territory.

As a curiosity, the tower is accessible with a ramp and not with stairs, so it is accessible to everyone.

Olivenza Walls

Many times one of the best ways to know more about cities is to know their walls.

He King Don Dinis takes care of populating Olivenza with Portuguese come from all over the kingdom, and build the first walls that were square in shape with four doors, one on each side, from which the city develops.

Olivenza it got to have several walls, and the line of facades that surrounds the Alcazar is the perimeter that occupied the first of all.

Olivenza Ethnographic Museum in the province of Badajoz

The second wall disappeared over time, but the footprint remained in the urban plot, so that you can perfectly see the oval they occupied.

Subsequently there was another one from the 16th century, and then the last bastioned one that is the one with the most perimeter of all, and passes around the convent.

As you will see on your visit, Olivenza It is a city full of walls that reflect its continuous expansion and its great defensive needs.

González Santana Ethnographic Museum in Olivenza

Located in an old military building, the Olivenza Ethnographic Museum It is one of the largest and most important in the country.

It is a representation of the uses and customs of the Olivenza ancient, how the world was at the end of the 19th century until almost the middle of the 20th century.

Olivenza in the province of Badajoz in Extremadura

In this museum you can see the evolution of customs and habits of life, which collide with the evolution so great during the last three decades with technological, social, economic changes so profound.

In the museum inside the Alcazar You can see several rooms with the different utensils used by the different craft guilds.

It is undoubtedly a very curious visit. especially if you are not used to seeing the tools that were used in the villages.

San Juan de Dios Convent

He Convent of San Juan de Dios It is built on horseback between the 16th and 17th centuries, and the building has had many uses throughout history.

They say there was a noble oliventina it was called Leonor, which decided to donate all the fortune he had at his death to create this convent, which initially housed the Poor Clares nuns.

Manueline style tiles in Olivenza in Extremadura

This building full of ghost stories was a hospital, and even a military barracks, and around the convent the last of the bastioned walls of Olivenza.

Manuelino de Olivenza Art

He Manueline art it developed extensively in Portugal, and it is very difficult to find in Spain, but in Olivenza it's possible.

Especially in the two churches of the city, which is where you can see more tiles of this style

It is very common to think that to see this classic tile with white and blue tones it is necessary to travel to Lisbon or Port, but in this Extremaduran town the sample is quite interesting.

Church of Santa María de la Magdalena in Olivenza

Church of Santa María de la Magdalena in Olivenza

Perhaps the best exponent of Portuguese Manueline art in Olivenza is the church of Santa María de la Magdalena, from the 16th century.

This Manueline style is seen outside in the mix of the architecture of late gothic with the naturalistic decorations with sailor elements.

And inside, in its large turned columns that resemble ropes, as well as in the historiated tiles.

Eat the typical sweet Olivenza

For the sweet tooth, in Olivenza there's a very special sweet which is only made here and in small productions.

Tecula Mecula, typical sweet of Olivenza in Extremadura

In the Pastry House Supplies prepare the Tecula Mecula, which is a cake similar to toast yolk, a true delight.

How to get to Olivenza

Olivenza is just half an hour drive south of Badajoz, very close to the border with Portugal.

Video: National and regional identity in Spain. Wikipedia audio article (December 2019).