Extremadura celebrates the Discovery of the Pacific Ocean
Panoramic view of Cáceres
Parque Nacional de Monfragüe
This year the world looks towards a very particular area of Spain: Extremadura. The reason? It is celebrating the 5th Centenary of the Discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Núñez de Balboa. And it is doing so with exhibitions, theatre, concerts, and the new "Discoverers' Route"… Come and see the birthplace of the man who succeeded in going beyond the Atlantic and changing the world's maps. Experience all the excitement of history.
On 25 September 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, a native of Extremadura, first spied the immensity of what he called the "South Sea": Panama and Spain were thus linked together in a very special way. Five hundred years later Extremadura is celebrating this historic event in high style. Why not come and take part in this Centenary and the wide array of activities on offer? Here are just a few:
The Discoverers' Route
Designed to enable visitors to explore Extremadura through the eyes of its most important discoverers, and through the places connected with them or which are home to famous monuments. You'll see Jerez de los Caballeros (the birthplace of Núñez de Balboa), Badajoz, Mérida, Medellín (cradle of Hernán Cortés, conquistador of the Aztec Empire), Villanueva de la Serena (where Pedro de Valdivia was born, the founder of modern Chile), Guadalupe (where Christopher Columbus received the decree from the Catholic monarchs which authorised him to set sail on his voyage of discovery to America), Trujillo (home of Francisco de Orellana, discoverer of the Amazon River, and of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro), Cáceres and Plasencia (the birthplace of Inés de Suárez, founder of the city of Santiago de Chile).
You'll be able to photograph castles, churches, monasteries, dolmens, archaeological remains, palaces, towers, bridges… Sound like an interesting itinerary? For more information, brochures and more, visit the tourist offices throughout the area.
A culture that links two continents together
January 2013 marked the official opening of the restored baptismal font of Núñez de Balboa in Jerez de los Caballeros. This was only the first step, as there are now a multitude of interesting activities on offer all year long.
The programme includes the "South Pacific film festival", the travelling exhibition entitled "Pacific: Extremadura and the adventure of the South Sea" (which starts off in Trujillo), and a commemorative concert by the Orchestra of Extremadura. In summer you'll be able to enjoy theatre from the time of Núñez de Balboa and the Peoples of the World Festivals.
Are you ready for more? In September you have two concerts to choose from: one by the Chilean Martín Bakero in the 15th Contemporary Music Cycle at the Vostell Museum, and the commemorative concerts by the Band of the Spanish Armada. And in October we recommend Foro Sur, the Latin American Contemporary Art Fair in Cáceres, which this year focuses on water and on the exchange of ideas with the countries in the Pacific.
And in addition to all this there are also conferences on Núñez de Balboa, film screenings, storytellers, technical courses, seminars, photography competitions… you'll find an activity-packed programme. FO-MAR Foundation. Latin American Foundation for the Promotion of Marine Culture and Science
As well as all the above activities, if you're interested in the sea and the discoverers you're certain to enjoy some of the other options devised by various institutions to mark this Centenary.
Highlights include the Latin American Foundation for the Promotion of Marine Culture and Science (FO-MAR Foundation). For example, they will be organizing lecture series such as the one entitled "Vasco Núñez de Balboa and the Spanish Lake", and another centred on the civilizing and scientific work of the Kingdom of Spain. Additionally, in September and October the exhibition room of the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid will feature two exhibitions: "From the Atlantic to the Pacific" (where you'll see some spectacular underwater photographs), and "Navigators on the pre-Hispanic Pacific" (with some interesting naval models).
There are also plans for a book entitled "Vasco Núñez de Balboa and the Spanish Lake", and these institutions together form part of the "Balboa Year" initiative which began on 29 September 2012.
In addition to these projects there are others such as the one by the Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), which is organising the exhibition "The adventure in the South Sea. The Spanish legacy in the Pacific Ocean. 1513-2013".
You'll find more information on the official website of the 5th Centenary and on the official websites of the following foundations:
As you can see, if you choose Extremadura for a trip in 2013 you'll have a whole array of options to choose from. Are you ready for an adventure?
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