Historic villages

The story of a city, a country, a nation lie in the legends and tales, in books and fates that people sing. The history of Portugal is complex and full of glorious and more dramatic moments, each person and each give another perspective to lamiré tales.

So are some of the historic villages where important moments were built in the history of Portugal, for what we are today.


Associated hectic moments in the history of Portugal, between wars and sovereignty of attempts over the territory, the military spent here this is reflected by robust masonry of granite that form one of the most interesting fortresses bulwark of Portugal. It is thought that its origin comes from human settlement during the Roman Period, the Enxido of Bush, one kilometer from its current position, and here found many traces.

In the Christian reconquest in the year 1039, Fernando Magno Almeida won, but in 1701 returned to the Moors. After a century, Sancho I regained again and rebuilt it, in order to expand its walls, which continued to be the target of attacks by promoting their depopulation. In 1190, Paio Guterres, grandson of Egas Moniz, finally took Almeida to national power.

However, continuing to be the center of dispute, Almeida only passed to the Portuguese jurisdiction, with the Treaty of Alcañices, signed in 1297, which defines the border into the land of Riba Coa, being raised to the castles of Sabugal, Tailors, Castelo Rodrigo, Vilar Maior, Castelo Bom, Almeida and Castelo Melhor.

Already in 1372, Ferdinand ordered the reconstruction of the castle and expansion of the walls, and in the same year Henry of Castile, married to Isabel, illegitimate daughter of Ferdinand, promotes the invasion of Portugal, forcing Fernando to carry out an agreement ceding some land for three years, namely Almeida.

In the crisis of succession, which ran from 1383 to 1385, Almeida stood beside Castle, to be reconquered by King John I in 1386. Years later, the land with the Almeida Alcaide were exchanged for John I, going to the King.

During the reign of Filipes of Spain, the strongholds that were in the border were being ruined by political decision aimed at eliminating resistance points in the confrontations between Castile and Portugal.

With the Restoration of Independence in 1640, fortification work began, and the military arts keep your track until the present day. At this time, Almeida was regarded as the real security key for the border of the province, as had never been taken. Since the July 2, 1663, here ran a decisive tone battle for the consolidation of the Restoration, with a Portuguese victory, the day celebrated here.

In 1736, construction was started Almeida Fort Square, drawn by John V and finished in the reign of Queen Mary I, who was later considered the most important military square of the kingdom. However, again lost in the Seven Years War, he returned in 1763 only to Brazil.

Already during the French invasions, Almeida was damaged by the explosion of the castle during the siege Massena made the fortress, and the defeated Portuguese military. After thirteen years, restoration work began.

In liberal struggles of eight hundred years, Almeida kept involved, taking sides by Miguel. In 1844, rebels of Torres Vedras appealed to Almeida support, but without success, that surrounding it, ended in heavy artillery fights, damaging the walls. Only in 1853 is that suffered restoration works.

Finally, in 1927, the last Cavalry Squadron left Almeida, causing it to lose military activities, its only reason for existence.

What to visit

Schist VillagesHistoric villagesAveiroBatalhaCastelo BrancoCoimbraFátimaFigueira da FozGuardaÍlhavoLeiriaSantarémTomarViseu


Its schist houses, ranging in brown tones that reflect the sun’s golden, as the church stands in the middle of houses for its white, wrapping up the mountains and stunning vegetation. Legend has it that one of the executioners took refuge Dona Inês de Castro, in an attempt to escape the wrath of their King Peter, and this is told in the Museum Centre, which also depicts the life of the village people.



One of the oldest towns in Portugal and internationally known, Belmonte is in Mount Hope, whose fortress surrounded by a rocky hill was erected in the late twelfth century. This fortification, along with the Sortelha and Taurus village took their positions until the signing of Alcanices Treaty in 1297. Having thus been developed defensive line of Alto Côa, keeping in rear a natural wall of the Serra da Estrela and Vale Zêzere. During the wars against Leoneans and Castilians, the castle of this town always got improvements in order to protect national territory.

Legendary and was honored loyalty and family bravery of the Manor House, which resulted in the transformation of the castle in a residence fortified manor, the place where Cabral have lived their early years.

Over the centuries, a Jewish community develops in this village, raising a synagogue, which only this left an inscription of 1296, and due to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by the Catholic kings, this community in the country was increasing, but D. Manuel I decrees forced conversion to Catholicism of these and a series of persecutions were carried out. However, this crypto-Jewish community was surviving and maintaining their rituals and traditions. In 1989 it was created the Jewish community of Belmonte and its synagogue was inaugurated in 1997 and is one of the few communities with Rabbi, today.


Castelo Mendo

In a border area, Castelo Mendo is strongly related to the military vocation of defense and consolidation of Portuguese rule and obtained the urban structure of the agglomerate of the early days of the monarchy.

It is believed that this will have been a neolithic castro, where the Romans harbored one oppidum surrounded by three walls, with a military and administrative importance, here also passed the Roman roads that interlocked Almeida and Guarda.

Due to various invasions, it fell into ruin until Sancho I have their full rebuilding and in 1186 granted the charter and has Sancho II expanded its walls, offering a new charter in 1239. Already in 1285, D. Dinis remodeled the castle and once more around the walls were enlarged and in 1281 gave the Charter Fair, the first national fair here created. And in 1295, D. Dinis granted a new charter, increasing the privileges and naming Alcaide D. Mendo Mendes.

Fortification of Castle Mendo got an important role in medieval times, a defensive line with Castile, and during the French invasions in the nineteenth century. In 1782, Queen Mary I orders the construction of the first school and until 1855, this was the county seat, before moving to the Sabugal and in 1870, Castelo Mendo joined Adams County.

Castelo Mendo

Linhares da Beira

The first settlement here dates back to 580-500 BC erected by the Turduli, who was the former Betic (now Andalusia), and then conquered by the Romans, who during the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, a Roman road was developed here that connected Emerda ( Mérida, Spain) to Braccara Augusta (Braga). Still existing, the ruin of a Roman forum, a granite building is a copy of the Roman occupation. With the arrival of the Barbarians Peninsula, Linhares da Beira began its Christianization process, becoming the headquarters of the Diocese. During the Muslim invasions, the climate of insecurity and stress fell on the present there communities, shutting-by taking refuge in the agricultural and the diocese has its headquarters in Coimbra.

In 900 Alfonso Magno Lion recovered the lands to Coimbra, getting Linhares their Christian peace before the total foundation of Portuguese nationality. After more than two centuries, in 1169, Afonso won Linhares, integrating the defensive line, then part of Trancoso and Celorico da Beira. However, the instability remained and in 1198, Linhares was invaded by the Castilians and Leonese.

It is believed that here there was a colony of Jews, knowing that their names is in the Inquisition proceedings, the Jewish quarter is close to the church forecourt, in the northern part of town, being one of its most characteristic symbols are Bet crosses the ombrais doors, dates with reference to the construction of houses, among others. In 1842, the county was abolished, becoming a village of Celorico da Beira municipality.

Linhares da Beira1

Castelo Rodrigo

Traces states that the human presence in this territory date back to the Paleolithic. But the greatest testimonies are the Roman occupation, with epigrafadas tombstones and seventeen archaeological sites, and remains of Roman villae. During Muslim rule, a moment that has marked this territory, there are still traces of the tank and inside the castle.

References that date back to the Reconquest, have the lion kings had repopulated this site, assigning the title of town and Alfonso IX of Leon raised the county. In the year 1170, the conquest by Afonso Henriques was taken from the Moors, but only in 1209, with Sancho I, Castelo Rodrigo went completely Portuguese hands.

Its fortification has ancient traces that only with the Treaty of Alcañices, did you get the defensive line which is now recognized. In 1296, D. Dinis adopt its repopulation and reconstruction of the castle, which despite wars and consecutive landslides, its walls were constantly were rebuilt.

In the Spanish crisis, Castelo Rodrigo took advantage of Beatrice and John of Castile, making John I, the Master of Aviz, punish the village, ordering that the shield of the royal arms were reversed. Once again this village was depopulated and fell into ruin. In 1508, King Manuel sent his repopulation, restoring the castle and granting the charter.

Castelo Rodrigo was a waypoint for pilgrims who performed their journey to Santiago de Compostela, being welcomed and cared for by a confraternity of hospitable brothers.

Castelo Rodrigo

Castelo Novo

Serra Gardunha, this is a natural amphitheater, where the shades of green and gray are always a battle of contrasts, increasing mysticism and transcendence. With over 800 years of history, here they appeal to the Templar heritage defended their walls. New Castle is a territory which depicts a mixture of experience and strong emotions between Templar antique with new traditions and new visitors.

Castelo Novo
Castelo Novo2


Documented as Roman city Civitas Aegitidanorum, this is a must stop archaeological tours of Portugal. Other villages, Visigoths and Arabs, medieval warriors, Knights Templar, all left their mark, including the Visigoth Cathedral, from a Paleochristian temple, with a magnitude that continues to enthrall, currently hosts one of the most important sets epigraphic Roman stay in Peninsula ; the walls and donjon has Roman sections, built in medieval times, which were aimed at the settlement of protection; the door and Roman Pônsul bridge; pillory of the sixteenth century; the Chapel of St. Damasus of the eighteenth century; the Egitaniense Museum that is received between the Cathedral and the Chapel of St. Damasus, are examples of a heritage worth a detailed visit.



In 1938, he received the title of “most Portuguese village of Portugal”, boasting a medieval castle, which is partially destroyed due to an accidental explosion of ammunition magazine. In the nineteenth century, only two towers remained, the pawn and the Donjon and the ruins of the Romanesque chapel of St. Michael, the twelfth century. Monsanto is also widely recognized for their tambourines and harlots, while one is a musical percussion instrument in sheepskin, whose origin is Arab, the other are rag dolls dressed in regional costume, with the peculiarity of not having eyes, mouths , nose or ears. In the feasts of Our Lady of the Castle or Crosses, single girls have to carry these dolls as part of the tradition.



A village of small had a military square of great importance in the Middle Ages, but its roots are from the sixth century BC, when the tribe of Aravos lived here, and later occupied by the Romans, Suevi and Arabs. In 1063, Fernando Magno, Lion King conquered it, converting it to Christianity, giving it the name of Malva and later became Marialva. However, legend has it that King Alfonso II of Portugal donated this land to D. Maria Alva, his passionate, thus resulting in the place name. Its medieval walkways are flanked by walls and Gothic doors, they refer to a small square with a very medieval feel. Already your parish church has a Manueline portal to Santiago, which dates back to the sixteenth century, in his honor follows the annual fair of Santiago.



A medieval village, whose archaeological research uncovered several anthropomorphic graves, near the parish church; along with traces of Roman occupation have from the West Gate to the fountain of Azenha.

Known the importance of the line of defense of the Coa River, the border was built by King Sancho II, along with the castle that was intended to protect the family unit and increase interest in rural property, to interest minhotas populations, the region Valencia.

In the year 1297, with the Treaty of Alcañices, this boundary line has agreed to the east, and gradually the castle was losing its importance, but received improvement works by D. Dinis, D. Fernando and D. Manuel I, which granted the new charter and implemented the current pillory. In 1640, the castle was again reclassified due to the elapsed wars during the Restoration. Leaving is the county seat in 1855, this territory became the seat of the parish, depending on the District and Bishopric Guarda.



With its medieval air, Trancoso houses the visitors showing them the best way to know, starting the alleys accompanied by chamfered gates and corbels walls, and houses two doors called Jewish quarters are those that arouse the most interest. Known that Jews settled this village, they sent their experiences and traditions.

It is believed that one of these houses, which belong to the old part of the village, the mysterious Bandarra born, cobbler and prophet, is currently cited by people as a man who prophesied the loss of freedom, war and the restoration of independence.

No questions, that the history of this village is linked to Portugal, this is close to the border that housed several fights and important events, including the Battle of San Marcos, held in 1355, being celebrated on 25 April.

In 1282, King Dinis celebrated its casamente with Queen Santa Isabel, in the chapel of St. Bartholomew, also being this land the fortress that added the most firm Luso-British alliance, with five of England Twelve your solar in Trancoso.