Castelo de VideTown Related Links
Castelo de VideHistory

The Romans first settled here in 44 BC being an important point in the road from Merida in Spain across to the west coast.

The Vandals conquered and destroyed the town in the 4th Century. It was later rebuilt by the Moors in the 7th Century until 1148 when it was taken by forces led by Gonçalo Mousinho who then became its governor.

The town's first Royal Charter was issued in 1180 and unlike other places it was required to organize its own defences and in return the young men of the town were not by law automatically obliged to be soldiers. It is unknown when Vide as it was originally known was first fortified.

On the orders of Dom Dinis the castle was rebuilt in 1310 and its name was prefixed by the word Castelo. When Afonso IV ascended to the throne he gave the town to his younger brother. This same brother later laid claim to the throne and an imminent battle for the castle was only avoided by the clever intervention of the ambassadors sent by the future to be Queen of Portugal, Dona Isabel de Aragon. Its protection and close border location was to attract many Jews from Spain during 1492 that escaped from the severe persecution handed out by the Catholic Church.

In 1704 the Spanish attempted unsuccessfully to capture the castle but later fell to the attack of the Duke of Berwick who threatened to put all in the town to the sword. The defending Portuguese then placed all their gunpowder for protection in a well but a year later an explosion of this powder destroyed a great part of its fortifications. When they proceeded to rebuilt and extend the walls they included the houses that had grown up around the castle in the outer walls.

Castelo de VideDescription

It is a most attractive small Spa Town with lots of fascinating architectural character. Sitting on the northern edge of the Serra de São Mamede it is a popular place for passing tourists due to its natural welcoming charm and the claimed healing powers of its Spa waters.

Within the castle walls there stands the 17th Century Capela de Nossa Senhora da Alegria that also contains attractive tiles of the same period. The old part of Castelo de Vide has lots of character with small typical houses of the region lining the steep very narrow cobbled streets. This is the Judiaria Quarter and on the corner of one of these streets there still stands a 13th Century synagogue.

Many of these modest homes together with the grander houses have door and window surrounds artistically worked in the local granite. The church of Salvador do Mundo is also from the 13th Century but it underwent some interior changes in the 18th Century amongst which is the addition of some attractive tiles.

Castelo de VideNearby Locations

To the northwest is the town of Nisa that acts as a contrast to Castelo de Vide as the streets are in comparison open and un-crowded by the local buildings. The Templars constructed this present version of the town as its original site that was destroyed by invading vandals whom invaded Portugal from the north.

To the south is the town of Marvão, another very attractive fortified location that is perched on a spectacular ridge some 862 mts. above sea level. This strategic factor influenced the Romans to fortify the location in the 1st Century. Its present name probably originates from its ruler, Ibn Maruán in the 10th Century.

The castle was originally built round 1299 and crowns the enclosed hamlet that has panoramic views to the south and east across towards Spain. Due to its high position and well built fortifications the castle was only once conquered which was in the Civil War of 1833 when the Liberals achieved access by a secret entrance.

In the 15th Century Chapel is a Visigoth statue that was surprisingly discovered after being hidden for 300 years during the town occupation by the Moors. A dramatic yet harsh location that often features in Portuguese poetry and sonnets. Surprisingly, close by in this hidden corner of Portugal there is an enjoyable 18-hole golf course and bordering it is a signs of a Roman ruins from 45AD.

Slightly further to the south is the commercial town of Portalegre that grew to prominence in the 16th and 17th Centuries. To the southwest the small town of Crato belies its historic past.

In the 13th Century this town was given to the powerful Order of Hospitaliers who originally assisted in the fight against the Moors in the reign of Dom Sancho II. The town was to become their headquarters when in 1356 Dom Álvaro Gonçalves Pereira ordered the building of the nearby Monastery of Santa Maria da Flor da Rosa. It later was to enjoy the patronage of both Dom Manuel I and Dom João III. The order was located in the Monastery that in the reign of Dom Luís in 1527 was replaced by the Order of Malta.

The structure was virtually destroyed in the earthquake of 1755 but was partially rebuilt by the order of the Marquês de Pombal and now it has been converted into an attractive Pousada. The Spanish in 1662 sacked and destroyed the fortifications of Crato and its importance was to diminish thereafter.

To the northeast of Castelo de Videis the Spa Fadagosa. Also, close to the town are a number of Antas (Dolmans) from the Megalithic times and the Menhir de Meada is claimed to be the largest one in the Iberian Peninsular.

Castelo de VideEvents and Useful Town Facts

Feira de Santo Amaro 1st June
Town Holiday 15th January

Postal Code 7320
Altitude 575 mts
Inhabitants 2.400

Castelo de VideTelephone Numbers

Town Hall 245 901 350
Fire Brigade 245 901 444
Police 245 901 314
Emergency Treatment 245 901 105
Tourist Office 245 901 361
SOS 112
Support to Tourists 800 296 296

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