Castelo Rodrigo

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Castelo Rodrigo

Historically, talking about Castelo Rodrigo implies remounting many centuries in history. From prehistory to the twenty-first century, many are the testimonies that exist, allowing us to travel through time to discover the historical roots of an entire region.

Occupied successively by the Túrdulos, Romans and Moors, the present municipality of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo was integrated into the Kingdom of Leon in the XI century, definitively integrating the Portuguese territory in 1297. Until century XIX was called only Castle Rodrigo, in homage to the Warden D. Rodrigo, who defended the fortress in 1296. The parish of Figueira belonged then to the municipality of Castelo Rodrigo. With the elevation of Figueira to the category of Vila, the seat of the county was transferred there and passed to the current denomination.

From the primitive occupation of this territory little is known, but there are vestiges that point to very remote times, among which the rock art engraving of Vale de Afonsinho, which represents a zoomorphic motif of the Magdalense style, stands out.

The Túrdulos - people who occupied Bética - must have been the first organized community to inhabit the region. Of the Roman occupation, which was quite intense, there are vestiges of the probable existence of at least nine "villas", two bridges, Vermiosa and Escalhão and remnants of Roman sidewalks. The "Tower of the Eagles", whose construction is located in the second century AD and would have been a Roman temple, later adapted the military watchtower.

In Escalhão, on the left bank of the river Águeda, the old Roman city of Caliábria would have been located, of which there are many vestiges. The Arabs bequeathed us the traditional farming houses, the castle cistern and other remains.

Once reconquered definitively by the kings of Leo in century XI, Afonso IX of Leon granted to him foral and raised the town to the category of county. With the signing of the Treaty of Alcanizes, the 12 of September of 1297, Castle Rodrigo was integrated in Portugal. Then, the Portuguese king D. Dinis, confirmed the County Council, ordered to rebuild Castelo Rodrigo and reinforce its walls. Then, in 1373, D. Fernando granted him a Fair Charter.

During the wars of Independence, it was again very damaged even reaching a state of great depopulation.

D. Manuel I, ordered to rebuild the castle and in 1508 attributed to him new foral raising it to the seat of the county.

During the seventeenth century and due to the characteristics of the population, narrow, steep and sinuous streets and houses scattered along the walls of the old medieval fortress, Castelo Rodrigo began to lose its importance, which would become fatal, since the county seat would pass to the village of Figueira, which developed more and more in the lower plain.

By this time was built the Parish Church of Figueira, an alternate vigararia of the Santa Fé and the Bishop of Lamego. The 25 of June of 1836, Figueira received its first charter that elevated it to the category of town and seat of the county in substitution of the one of Castelo Rodrigo and happening to be called Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo.

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Almeida Village

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Almeida Village

Almeida (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐɫˈmɐjðɐ]) is a fortified village and a municipality in the sub-region of Beira Interior Norte and the District of Guarda, Portugal. The town proper has a population of 1,300 people (2011). The municipality population in 2011 was 7,242, in an area of 517.98 square kilometres (199.99 square miles). It is located in Riba-Côa river valley. The municipal holiday is July 2.

History
In and around the environment of Almeida, evidence of Human occupation can be found back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Evidence has also been found of Roman occupation followed by the Suevi and the Visigoths. The first fortification constructed in the settlement were constructed by the Muslims who occupied the village until Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. It was during this time that the current name was first used, in the form of the Arabic al-Ma'ida ('the plateau').

Sancho I, The Populator
The village of Almeida was captured from the Moors by the second king of Portugal, Sancho I in the 12th century because of its strategic position in the new country of Portugal's border with Spain. So important to the security of the country, Sancho had the village heavily fortified. The castle was refortified on three further occasions by King Dinis, King Manuel I and by King João VI. The present 12 pointed star fortification was constructed in 1641 to a Vaubanesque plan to which the French military engineer is believed to have personally worked[ on, during the castle's final stages of completion.

Spanish occupation
During the Seven Years' War (1754 to 1763) which involved most of the great powers of Europe, Spain with the help of France launched an attack on Portugal due to its alliance with Great Britain. As a result of the invasion, Almeida was captured by Spain in 1762.

Almeida Castle
Main article: Castle Fortress of Almeida
The fortress around the town guards an important cross-border road from Spain and underwent several sieges. The siege of 1810, during the Peninsular War, ended spectacularly when a chance shell ignited the main gunpowder magazine, which exploded, killing 500 defenders and destroying most of the town.

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Third-day Trip  -  Serra da Estrela

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Third-day Trip - Serra da Estrela

We'll spend the second night in Skiparque campsite.
This campsite is in the middle of nature, in a valley, between the mountains in Serra da Estrela next to the Zêzere river. It is a very beautiful spot, with a river beach.
The next day, we will gonna dive and have lunch at Vale do Rossim, a marvellous dam with blue waters.

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Sortelha

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Sortelha

The Sortelha Castle is located in the village with the same name, 

Built on a granite massif in a dominant position over the Ribacôa valley, the area between the Meseta Ibérica and the depression of Cova da Beira, it is part of what is considered one of the best preserved Historical Villages of Beira Interior.

The primitive human occupation of the place dates back to prehistory, possibly to a Neolithic castro. Attracted by the mineral wealth of the region and the strategic location of the site, it would have been successively occupied by Romans, Visigoths and Muslims.

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Penha Garcia

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Penha Garcia

History
Background:
The primitive human occupation of its site dates back to prehistory, to a Neolithic period, later romanized, linked, it is believed, to the alluvial gold mining on the Ponsul River, practised until the end of the 20th century.

The medieval castle:
At the time of the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, it is accepted that the medieval castle was initiated by D. Sancho I, within the fortification policy he developed in Beira, facing the threats posed by the Lion Kingdom in the East, and the Muslims, To the south.
The domains of Penha Garcia and its castle were donated in 1220, by D. Afonso II (1211-1223), to the Order of Santiago, so that he would populate and defend them.
Penha Garcia received a Foral Charter, passed by D. Afonso III (1248-1279), on October 31, 1256. This document assured the residents of Penha Garcia, the customs of Penamacor.
D. Dinis (1279-1325) donated the domains of the village and his castle in 1303 to the Order of the Templars, in the person of his master in the country at the time, Vasco Fernandes. Faced with the extinction of the Order, they passed on to the Order of Christ.
In the sixteenth century, with the integration of military orders into the Crown, it returned to royal possession again. It is portrayed by Duarte de Armas, and the village received New Foral passed by D. Manuel I (1495-1521) in Santarém, on June 1, 1510.

From the seventeenth century to our days:
From the seventeenth century, its commendation passed to the counts of São Vicente da Beira.
It was the "couto" of the kingdom, or a place for outlaw people, until D. Maria I (1777-1816) extinguished them in 1790.
In the 19th century, with the extinction of the Council on November 6, 1836, the process of degradation of the castle began, aggravated by the activities of treasure hunters.
Patrimony not classified by the public power, the medieval castle currently has some sections of walls, in good condition (recently recovered), and a cannon in the village.

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Second-day trip - Vila Velha de Rodão

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Second-day trip - Vila Velha de Rodão

Legend suggests that Visigoth Wamba (672-680) erected a castle on this site sometime during the 7th century, but archaeological excavations don't confirm this perspective.

The construction of the current structure and watchtower was erected between 11th and 12th century, likely over the pre-existing castro through the initiative of the Knights Templar: the tower erected could have been either a watchtower or keep tower. In 1199, the Herdade da Açafa was donated by King D. Sancho to the Templars.

By 1505, circling walls had already been greatly destroyed.

By the middle of the 18th century, the castle was used as an artillery spot for the protection of the Tejo river passage. The battlements and artillery posts were constructed on the flank overlooking the Tagus, in the area referred to as Batarias.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the castle was reconstructed, during the preparation for the first French invasion of the peninsula, during the Napoleonic Wars, through the initiative of the Marques de Alorna.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_R%C3%B3d%C3%A3o

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First day completed! - Last spot, first night

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First day completed! - Last spot, first night

This is Póvoa e Meadas dam. Is the last spot of the first-day journey. we'll spend the first night here, on the lakeshore, with a sky full of stars. This is a very calm and peaceful place where you can bathe and swim in the warm waters.

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Belver - The journey continues

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Belver - The journey continues

The Castle of Belver (Portuguese: Castelo de Belver) is a Portuguese castle in the civil parish of Belver, municipality of Gavião, district of Portalegre, in northern Portugal.

Belver was the first castle and most important to be constructed by the Hospitalers in Portugal during the Middle Ages. It was built in order to defend the access-way along the Tejo River, and donate by Sancho I under the condition that a castle will be constructed. In 1194, King Sancho conceded this region of the Northern Tejo River, then known as Guidintesta, or Guidi in testa (or still of Costa), to Afonso Paes, prior of the Order of the Hospitallers. By so doing, the King hoped to stabilize the Christian-Muslim frontier along the Tejo River, leaving the Templar to almost monopolize their power along the frontier lands. The King began referring to the construction of the Castle and the surrounding as Belver. In his later testament, King Sancho transferred the title of the Castle to the Hospitalers. By 1210, construction was far enough advanced to allow the permanent occupation and defense. The testament while identifying its existence, also made it clear that the Castle was one of the six repositories of the nation's wealth, thus by providing ample proof of the Castle's defenses, albeit located in a frontier outpost. The final construction was completed in 1212.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belver_(Gavi%C3%A3o)

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Almourol Castle

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Almourol Castle

 Castle of Almourol

The Castle of Almourol is a medieval castle, located on a small islet in the middle of the Tagus River, in the civil parish of Praia do Ribatejo, 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) from the municipal seat of Vila Nova da Barquinha, in the Portuguese Centre Region. The castle was part of the defensive line controlled by the Knights Templar, and a stronghold used during the Portuguese Reconquista.

History

It is believed that the castle was constructed on the site of a primitive Lusitanian castro that was later conquered by the Romans during the 1st century B.C.E It was later remodelled by successive invading forces, including the Alans, Visigoths and Moors, although it is unclear when the actual castle was established In excavations carried out in the interior and exterior enclosures, various vestiges of Roman occupation were discovered, that included coins, millennium markers and Roman foundations, while medieval remnants such as medallions and two marble columns were also discovered in the castle's vicinity.

The castle of Almourol is one of the more emblematic and scenographic medieval military monuments of the Reconquista, and best representation of the influence of the Knights Templar in Portugal. When it was conquered in 1129, by forces loyal to the Portuguese nobility, it was then known as Almourol, and placed in the trust of Gualdim Pais, the master of the Knights Templar in Portugal, who rebuilt the structure. The structure was reconstructed, starting in 1171 (from an inscription over the principal gate) and restored during the subsequent reigns.

Losing its strategic place, it was abandoned resulting in its fall into ruins. In the 19th century, it was "reinvented" by idealistic romantics, which eventually led to interventions in the 1940s and 1950s, and its adoption as Official Residence of the Portuguese Republic. During this period, restorations had proceeded, transforming the physical appearance of the structure, including the addition of crenellations and bartizans.

The DGMEN - Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais (Directorate-General of Buildings and National Monuments), the forerunner of the IGESPAR first intervened on the site in 1939, through the construction of the chemin de ronde in masonry, including reinforced concrete; dismantlement and reconstruction of the corner of the keep; repair and consolidation of the battlements, including the demolition of the tower's allure, reconstruction of a brick vault under the existing; and reconstruction of the pavement in small stone.

Around 1940-1950, the spaces were adapted for its use as an official residence of the Portuguese Republic At the end of this short term, the building's furniture was acquired by the Commission for Furniture Acquisition (Portuguese: Comissão para a Aquisição de Mobiliário) in 1955, while an electrical grid was installed.

Between 1958 and 1959, there was some consolidation of the keep with concrete straps, a project to diminish the permeability of the courtyard and reconstruction of the interior walls of the tower by the Escola Prática de Engenharia (Practical School of Engineering), as well as the reconstruction of a door that included doorposts and lintels. In subsequent years, other projects occurred: in 1959, the repair of the façade of one section of wall; in 1960, with the conclusion of the repairs to the exterior walls, the pavement and road access was improved by the Direcção da Arma de Engenharia de Tancos (Tancos Directorate for Weapons Engineering). But, this roadway was improved with the reconstruction of a road that skirted the islet from the quay to the southern end of the castle, by theServiços de Engenharia do Estado Maior do Exército (Service of the Army Corp of Engineers).

By 1996, the walls were repaired, sections of the keep were preserved and the pavement in the castle restored.

Owing to water infiltration, the castle began to show some signs of degradation by 2004, including a few of the exterior walls.

Architecture

The castle rises over a granite outcropping 18 meters (59 ft), it is approximately 310 meters (1,020 ft) long and 75 meters (246 ft) wide, in the middle of the Tagus River waterway, a few meters below its confluence with the Zêzere River in front of the town of Tancos. Although access to the Portuguese National Monument and fluvial islet is free, visitors to the structure must pay an inexpensive boat-ride across the river (which is the only way for visitors to reach the castle).

It is an irregular rectangular plan consisting of two enclosures: the exterior, lower level faces upstream with a traitors' gate, and walls reinforced by nine tall circular towers; and the interior enclosure, located at a higher elevation, whose walls are accessible by the main gate to the main keep. The keep is three-stories tall and includes the original pads that supported the main truss. The remaining sentry towers are irregular, owing to the irregular terrain. The keep is actually an innovation at this castle, appearing in the 12th century after the Castle of Tomar, the principal defensive redoubt of the Templars in Portugal. Similarly, the watchtowers were innovations brought into the western part of the Iberian peninsula by the Order, and applied in Almourol.

The interior is bisected by several masonry doorways that link the different parts of the castle. Two inscription stones mark the castle's history and its re-edification by Gualdim Pais (over the main gate), as well as its Christian history (from the cross carved into space above an open window in the keep).

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The Beginning of an Adventure

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The Beginning of an Adventure

All stories start with "once upon a time", and all history begins in the past. Mine is no different.
So, a few years ago, I, finally, decided to know better my country.  Normally, I chose the same places or the same areas to take vacations, because I already knew them, and I knew it'll be fun there. And what more do you want for your vacations?!!... To be fun, relaxed, meet people, have some different experiences... at the end, to feel happy and back home with very good memories in your baggage. But then, I start thinking, that I just knew a few areas in my country, all of them in the south or south-west coast, and I had to change that.
 I live in a small country, it's a very small country indeed, with 848 km length and 250 km width, and I have the luck to live in the center, so, to be anywhere it wouldn't be a very difficult task.
Every month I picked a weekend and chose a different place.
My desire was to know the north, mainly the east side, the historic villages, the mountains, the dams, the forest... and I discovered an amazing country, with so many beautiful places, with a strong, wild nature, with a strong and positive energy, vibration. I was fascinated! I did that, took a weekend every month, for, something like, three years?!! I'm not sure...
I slept in the middle of nature, normally, stopped the van in a dam, near the water, and spent the night there, watching the stars or listening to the rain on the top of the van.
Two years ago, I thought that I must have to share this places with the world, that they are too beautiful to be hidden, and then I began to raise this project, this idea, for you...

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