With its historically strategic location, so close to the Portuguese border, Badajoz was an important line of defence for Spain for centuries. Battled over by the Spanish, Portuguese, Moorish, and even the French and Spanish, the city is the result of the meeting of different peoples, cultures and eras. Badajoz and its surroundings hide numerous archaeological treasures dating back centuries, from Roman ruins to Moorish palaces to empire era forts. The river Guadiana crosses the city, dividing the more modern northern area from the historic centre to the south, which emanates from the impressive Plaza Alta square and is surrounded by remnants of the old city walls (as well as towers and the Alcazaba, an ancient palace and fort). To the west, Badajoz reaches all the way to Portugal, making it an ideal home base for those who wish to explore both sides of the border.