Within the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Global Geopark of the UNESCO, La Jara has preserved over time its traditional architecture which has an unmistakeable personality. Even today it is still possible to find good examples of a genuine conception of architecture, halfway between that of Castile and that of Extremadura and with the influence of León.

The villages of La Jara are distributed among the provinces of Toledo, Ciudad Real, and Cáceres. From Cáceres province are Carrascalejo, Garvín, Navatrasierra, Peraleda de San Román, Valdelacasa de Tajo, and Villar del Pedroso. They make up the so-called Jara Cácereña and are located in the northeast corner of the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Global Geopark of the UNESCO. Their unusual situation, with age-old connections with the province of Toledo and the town of Talavera de la Reina, has shaped a territory which irrespective of its administrative limits has a personality of its own. And one of the ways a people most clearly reflects its identity is through its architecture.

The popular architecture of the Jara Cácereña can be divided into two types: that unconnected to population centres and the opposite. In the first case we find rural constructions in the countryside as elements of a society which depended on agriculture and stockbreeding. Examples include pigsties, shepherds’ huts, and dry stone walls; these constructions are found over the whole of the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula and represent the most primitive and elementary building models.

In these huts and pigsties the false dome was frequently used as one of the most archaic yet functional solutions. They were built with materials to hand and not normally by specialists. With the same structure as stone walls albeit circular in shape we find sheep pens (for protecting flocks from the wolf during the night) and much less frequently ‘beehive shelters’. The latter are curious constructions designed to keep hives safe from bears, which until a few centuries ago inhabited the most mountainous areas.

Halfway between huts proper and houses as such we find the so-called ‘cocinillas’ or ‘casillas’. These are modest constructions with cupboards and chimneys which made a home for those who had to spend log periods away from their village whether working on the threshing floors, in the olive groves, or on the grazing grounds. The second type of traditional architecture is that found in the villages, strong austere constructions of a functional nature with few concessions to ornamentation. To build them local materials were used, whether granite or slate, together with wooden beams and Arabic tiles.

These houses generally had one storey and less commonly two with the upper part used as an attic and larder. Normally the walls were not filled with mortar, which allowed the appreciation of the stone masonry with the exception of the plaster around the entrances. The walls were generally strengthened with stone blocks on the corners which together with the lintels of doors and windows and the threshold of the entrance were usually the only worked pieces. Many of the houses were complemented by poultry yards or granaries for storing part of the harvest, rearing domestic animals, and sheltering beasts. The passage of time, the abandonment of the countryside, and the changes in the urban appearance of the villages has converted these elements into relics of the past of great heritage value. However, even today in any of the villages of the Jara Cacereña examples of traditional architecture can be found.