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Portugal > Tourism > Alentejo > Évora - Municipality

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The beautiful Arabic sounding name of Alandroal betrays the town's cultural roots. Its origins are proudly emblazoned on the city coat of arms, which shows that it belongs to the Order of Aviz. You may like to take a walk from the hill fort of Castelo Velho through the historical center of Terena to the ruins of the Castle of Juromenha. If your visit coincides with the first Sunday after Easter, you should stop to see the festival of Nossa Senhora da Boa Nova at the sanctuary of the same name.
When Father António Vieira was preaching his famous sermons in Lisbon's São Roque Church, so many high ranking people belonging to the Court wanted to hear him that they had to send their servants to the church the night before to save seats for them. They would do this by spreading beautiful carpets on the church floor, large enough to hold the members of their devout families. Contemporary accounts relate that the flagstones of the church floor were covered with Persian and Arraiolos carpets, which blended so well due to their similarity. Arraiolos carpets have never been out of fashion since. Count Nuno Álvares Pereira came from Arraiolos, which at the time already had its own castle, built by King Dinis, besides the Roman Temple of Satana do Campo and dolmens.

Given a town charter by King Dinis, Borba is the center of an administrative area which is small but fiercely proud of its identity. This identity dates back to the very foundation of Portugal as a nation state, as proved by the castle and city walls ordered built by King Afonso II. It is not known whether the local delicacies and famous wine were responsible for the chubby king's nickname, but it is highly likely... Visit Borba, feast your eyes on its beauty, drink a glass of white or red wine along with some local cheese or sausage, and you will certainly want to come back one day.

Few Portuguesetowns have been the setting for as many dramatic moments of our national history as Estremoz. Kings and Queens have lived and died here. King Pedro I died in the convent of São Francisco to which he bequeathed his tortured heart. Queen Isabel of Aragon, who came here to visit King Dinis, also ended up staying. Many and various were the religious and military architectural styles, the latter justified by the strategic importance Estremoz always enjoyed in wars against Spain: it was the military headquarters of Nuno Álvares during the wars of Independence and later became the center of the struggle in the war to restore Portugal's throne.
Above the town looms the Castle. Various people such as warriors, Moorish Kings and Christian Knights have passed through here and organised the royal courts which eventually decided on the voyages of discovery to India. Therefore, we can also consider it the castle which witnessed the birth of the great Portuguese dream of adventure. From the castle walls we may walk down towards the great undulating plains, past the Convent of São Domingos, with its Archaeological Museum, the Alms house (Misericórdia), the Parish, Church and the crypt of the patron saint, São João de Deus (St. John of God) as he is known all over the world but who was born right here.

An impressive reminder of the wealth and beauty of the region in former times is to be seen in Torre da Águias (Eagle's Tower) in the former village of the same name. But there are also instances of more recent artistic creativity in Mora: one of Pavia's more famous sons was Manuel Ribeira, who having taken the name of the town as his surname, left it his house as a museum. It is an absolute must, and is to be found on the way to the former Palace of the Counts of Redondo and the famous Pavia dolmen.

Mourão is no very big, but the landscape it looks over is truly glorious. It stands guard over the plain, as was surely the original intention of the king who ordered the town walls and castle built - King Dinis, who is known and remembered for his good work. The River Guardiana is the very lifeblood of the region, except for the Castle, the Parish Church and the Roman remains of Lousa Castle, nothing disturbs the smooth course of the beautiful Guardina.


With a castle and royal charter dating from the 13th century, Portel has lived off its agriculture and livestock farming for the past centuries. The present inhabitants have inherited a number of valuable monuments dating from former times and enjoy an enviable geographical situation. Whoever passes through this area has enough to refresh both body and mind: the Castle and Parish Church of Vera Cruz, the Agar caves and the local traditional soups and cheeses.

Legend has it that the town took its name from a mythic Penedo Redondo (Rounded Rock), we could also suggest that the name came from the smooth taste of the wine which has made the area famous. The area has also produced many artists and master craftsmen over the centuries. The incomparable plates and other objects made of local earthenware, the beautiful painted wooden furniture, the haunting folk singing which many claim has its roots in Gregorian plainsong, which is hardly surprising bearing in mind the number of convents, churches and hermitages.


The contrast of whitewash against stone in a strong and open landscape makes Monsaraz a living monument. With its granite walls, it brings to mind the Gothic style of Nuno Álvares Pereira, a journey to another age, dominion and power and the firmness which is rooted in profound knowledge of man and the land, the river and time. Hunting and fishing in the river and forgotten reservoirs and cross country driving are a real adventure.

Whatever you may say about royalty, they have always known how to choose the best when it comes to the material pleasures of this world. If they chose Vendas Novas as a place to set up an Inn of Court, and later to build a Royal Palace, it was because this stopping place on the journey south seemed to merit more than a simple stopover. With the Court came merchants, and beautiful churches were built. The town grew around these new activities and later took their name from the merchant's activities (venda means sale) A fair came to be held in May and September of every year and basket making, for which the Alentejo is rightly famous, became a specialty.


Viana do Alentejo has become a center for extremely popular pilgrimages due to its strategic position routes leading south. It was chosen by kings to set up courts and sign treaties and was an area sought after by the best families. Viana do Alentejo is a show case of different styles, with special emphasis on religious art, as devotion to Nossa Senhora d'Aires was the focus of one of the most impressive pilgrimages in the South of Portugal. The pilgrimage and fair still take place on the 4th Sunday in September every year.

Vila Viçosa has always been rightly considered a jewel in the treasure chest of Alentejo, so it is hardly surprising to find that it has often been included in royal dowries and endowments. Dona Brites, the wife of King Afonso IV, as the first to receive it as a wedding present, followed by Leonor Teles, King Fernando's lover hated by the people of Lisbon, and it was later presented to Nuno Álvares Pereira, King João I heroic general. Vila Viçosa will satisfy the demands of the most refined visitor. Historical episodes abound in churches, convents and palaces, while wild boar and deer run free in the royal hunting grounds.

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