Alcantara sits on the border between Spain and Portugal on the edge of the Tajo river. It is home to a beautiful Roman Bridge.
Alcantara rises up a hillside above the river Tagus (Tajo in Spanish) which is spanned by an impressive Roman bridge built in the second century. The bridge is 70 meters high and almost 200 meters long and has 6 arches including a triumphal arch dedicated to Emperor Trajan. Be sure to look at the bridge at night when it is beautifully illuminated. On the left bank of the bridge is a small Roman temple. The bridge is rather dominated now by the large damn just a few hundred meters up stream and which is the longest in Spain and responsible for producing electricity.
The town itself experienced Roman, Arab and Visigoth rule before being definitively captured by the Christians. Because of its strategic position it was controlled by a number of Military Orders and many of its buildings were built during this time.
These buildings were largely Romanesque in style and include the church of Our Lady of Almocovar. It was built on an ancient mosque.Inside are five panels painted by Luis de Morales.
The key religious monument in the town, the convent of San Benito, was the last headquarters of the Knights of the Military Order of Alcantara. It has a lovely Gothic cloister and Renaissance facade with an exterior loggia with three layers of arches.
Also look out for the 17th century church of San Pedro de Alcantara with plateresque details.
There are various mansions and palaces to look out for including the houses of the Bernáldez, Villarroel and Queen Dominguez. There are also some remains of the Moorish walls which were renovated in the Middle Ages.
Where is Alcantara
Alcantara is in the Caceres province in the Extremadura region of Spain. It is north west of the city of Caceres which is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities of Spain.