Zafra, also known as Little Seville, is right at the heart of Baja Extremadura, on a plain at the foot of the steep rocky mountains of Sierra de Castellar. The city was consolidated thanks to its location on the strategic "Via de la Plata", or the Silver Route, in Roman Hispania. The San Miguel Cattle Show is in tune with this town's historical commercial tradition. The town is dominated by the 15th-century Alcázar (fortress). From the outside, it has a military appearance, but the interior resembles a palace. Note the Renaissance cloister in the central courtyard. Nowadays, the Alcázar houses the local Parador de Turismo. The medieval quarter stretches around the fortress, in a network of narrow streets that form a peculiar pattern that resembles the shell of a turtle. A stone wall from the 15th century used to surround it completely; today, only three of the eight gates that it formerly had are still standing. Plaza Grande (Big Square), lined with arches, is at the heart of town. Its little sister, Plaza Chica (Small square) is connected to it through the popular "Arquillo del Pan" (the small arch of bread). Zafra's monumental heritage is very rich, with great buildings such as the sumptuous collegiate church of La Candelaria, erected in 1546, whose interior keeps three reredos, one of them by Zurbarán, and another one by Churriguera; the parish church of San José; several convents, most of which date from the 16th century; the hospital of Santiago, founded in the 15th century, and so forth. As for civil architecture, we have numerous ancestral homes from the 16th-18th centuries, as well as middle class homes from the 19th century.
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