There have been settlements near Cáceres since prehistoric times as evidenced by the paintings in the Maltravieso Caves which date back from the late Paleolithic period. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage City since 1986, Caceres offers a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic, and Italian Renaissance styles which reflecting its long history. The Ciudad Monumental (Monumental City) at its center is truly astonishing. Narrow cobbled streets twist and climb among ancient stone walls lined with palaces, mansions, arches and churches, while the skyline is decorated with turrets, spires, gargoyles and enormous storks' nests. Protected by defensive walls, it has survived almost intact from its medieval splendor.