Extremadura is a truly fascinating place for those who love the rural world. The dehesa plains hide numerous treasures that only locals know. The corralás in Torrequemada, near Cáceres, are a great example.
I learned about the corralás barely four months ago, while reading the regional newspaper, and immediately included them on my list of places to visit during my last trip back home. Let me tell you more about it…
Corralás? What’s that?
I had never heard that word before reading that article, and neither had anyone I spoke to. Corralás are rural constructions made of stone that were used in the past by Torrequemada locals to shelter and breed pigs.
Seeing one single corralá may not sound particularly interesting. What makes this place special is that Torrequemada – a village with a population of about 600 – is home to around 400 corralás. This gives a good indication of how dependant on pigs people in rural Extremadura were.
The corralás are located in an area of the local dehesa known as ‘El Prao’. The landowner was the local authority, and people could apply for permission to either simply use the facilities, or to build their own corralás. In this sense, there are two types – communal and private. The communal ones belong to the local authorities and were shared by those without the means to build their own, while the private ones were used only by the person or family who built it. There is no official register of who built or used what, as written contracts were inexistent. Everything was agreed verbally.
Although they are generally round, there are corralás of different size and shape. Some of them have one single area for pigs, while others have separate sections. You will also spot flat rocks in the middle of many corralás, with holes that were used as watering troughs.
Visiting the corralás
The path will take you directly to the corralás, but the best thing is to then explore the area as you please. Climb up the rocks to the left of the path if you want to enjoy some gorgeous countryside views and see the white corralá, built by local man Miguel in 1917 for sick pigs that needed to be kept separate and put in quarantine.
As many other places in Extremadura, the corralás are free to visit and hard to find (the information about how to get there is at the end of the article). But this may change relatively soon. Local authorities are awaiting the official recognition of the corralás as a place of cultural interest by the regional government, to start looking for investment to repair the corralás and turn the place into a tourist site.
For the time being, the place is completely empty, peaceful and quiet. We parked just outside the gate, and spent as much time as we wanted walking around, taking pictures and enjoying the landscape and the views. So, enjoy a quiet visit while you can!
|HOW TO GET THERE|
|The main point of reference to get there is Charca de Abajo, a natural pool located in the southeast end of the village. From Charca de Abajo, continue along the road (ignore the road on the right) for a few metres and then take the right turn. Continue for about 10 minutes until you reach the gate. There is no parking area, so leave the car somewhere near the entrance and walk.|
Torrequemada on a map
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Other nearby places you may want to visit include Cáceres (21 km) and Montánchez (27 km). Read the articles below for inspiration: