Wanderers who want to go the same way as an emperor are in the right place at Yuste, in the north of Extremadura. Because here they will find the Ruta del Emperador through the valley. The way is named after Emperor Charles V, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of Germany, who spent his last days in the monastery after resigning in 1556. He died at the age of 58 in Yuste in the vicinity of Plasencia. The last trip of Emperor Charles V led him from Jarandilla de le Vera, through the mountain pass of Jerte, into the Vera Valley through several small mountain villages, and he and his followers ended up in the monastery on February 3rd 1557. As he saw the pass, Charles V allegedly said in very bad Spanish: “Ya no franquearé otro Puerto – que el de la muerte” (I will never walk on another pass except when I would pass on). Since that time the roadway has been enlarged, it stretches over about 16 kilometres and now it is not only adept and trained people who can master it. The path ranges over the Vera Valley, along mountain runnels, via lovely small places like Aldeanueva de la Vera and Cuacos de Yuste. From Cuacos de Yuste a road leads uphill to the monastery, and on the right-hand side you will find the German cemetery in an unimpressive place. German soldiers, who died during the First and Second World War, were buried there. This leafy open place is covered with 180 artless crosses in which the name and date of birth and death of the fallen soldiers are engraved. The war cemetery is located nearly one kilometre underneath the monastery of Yuste; owing to the big trees shading the place, it is a good resting place for wanderers.
Charles V spent his last months in the Hieronymites monastery. Because he was suffering from gout, the monks destroyed the wall between his bedroom and the monastery church so that he could attend mass while lying in his bed. From his couch he had a view over the great garden that is still today situated over the picturesque Vera Valley. From the garden you have a panoramic view of the region. The emperor died on September 2nd 1558 in his private apartments which can still be visited today. His mortal remains rested for 16 years until his son Philipp II transferred the oak coffin from the crypt of the monastery to El Escorial.
The monastery was constructed in the 15th century; despite its remote location, French troops were able to find it and burnt it down in 1809 during the struggle against the Spanish guerrillas. That is why the current complex is a reconstruction of the ancient building of the late middle Ages dating from the 19th century. Hieronymites still live in the monastery; they have converted one part of the complex into a museum. A European academy that awards scholars for outstanding performance is also established in Yuste. Umberto Eco, Hans Küng and Vaclav Hável count among the awarded scholars. In addition to the scholar award, the foundation bestows the renowned Peace Prize of Yuste in commemoration of Emperor Charles V. In 2008 the French politician Simone Weil obtained the prize, and two years before it was former German chancellor Helmut Kohl. Thus, two German state rulers have already been to Yuste.