OLIVENZA The King’s Bakery


Olivenza's increased military importance resulted in the construction of complementary in-frastructure. Thus, the Santa Barbara Armoury was created, as well as the guardhouses to watch over the gates and the barracks to house the militia. The King's Bakery is one of them, also known by other names, in relation to its other functions, such as, Cuartel del Asiento. It had everything necessary to manufacture 10,000 loaves of bread a day. The cylindrical chim-neys of its four ovens have been preserved until today as if they were still in service.


It is a late 18th century building attached to the Castle enclosure and the medieval wall. Its appearance reflects the early neo-classical period, which originated in Portugal as a result of the reconstruction work carried out in Lisbon after the earthquake of 1775, under the guidance of the Prime Minister of D. José I, the Marquis of Pombal. Although its roots stem more from the sober Portuguese building tradition than from a neoclassical style whose theory was still in its infancy in Rome. The rhythmic repetition of the windows, set in sober and unadorned marble frames, and the absence of additions or decorations in any other part of the facade define this Pombaline style building that we could also call Portuguese protoneo-classical.


It houses part of the González Santana Ethnographic Museum of Extremadura, highlighting in the lower part the four furnaces that accommodate, respectively, the grocery store, a wine cellar, an oil mill and a forge. Likewise, two superimposed rooms supported by octagonal columns of pink marble can be seen, housing a collection of archaeological artefacts from the area downstairs and pieces of sacred art upstairs.