Montemor-o-Novo, Alentejo, Portugal

I love travelling in Portugal and set off to explore new areas and return to favoured haunts. During this visit we found that Alentejo on Foot has published brochures and a book of mapped, marked walks – I felt freer than ever to explore!

The Vasco da Gama Bridge over the Tagus at Lisbon
The Vasco da Gama Bridge over the Tagus at Lisbon

It was a grey, wet day as we crossed the spectacular Vasco da Gama Bridge and headed into the Alentejo towards Montemor-o-Novo to visit the Castle. The aerial photograph (below) in the Church of St James gives a good idea of the site.  I understand this was originally a Moorish Castle which was recaptured in 1166 by Alfonso Henriques, the first Portuguese King. The walls encircled the original village which developed into a prosperous town by the 14C. However, the town was relatively safe, at some distance from the Spanish border, and so the population gradually expanded outside the walls, and by the 18C the town inside the walls had been abandoned.

16-4-16 Lisbon to Vila Vicosa LR-2668

Montemor-o-Novo (http://www.portugalvirtual.pt/_tourism/plains/montemor.novo/)

I thought monotone photographs best suited the drama of the site and the gloom of the day.

The Town Gate & the Guardhouse of the Castle at Montemor-o-Novo
The Guardhouse, Clock Tower & Town Gate of the Castle at Montemor-o-Novo
Crest over the Guardhouse of the Castle, Montemor-o-Novo
The Crest of King Alfonso Henriques I (1109-85) on the Guardhouse of the Castle, Montemor-o-Novo
Mediaeval tombs in the walls of the Castle at Montemor-o-Novo
Mediaeval tombs in the walls of the Castle at Montemor-o-Novo
The Gatehouse & walls of the castle, Montemor-o-Novo
The Gatehouse & walls of the castle, Montemor-o-Novo, with the white walls of the Convent in the background
The ruins of the Royal Palace at Montemor-o-Novo, with the Town Gate
Ruins (date uncertain) of the Headquarters of the Governor of the City, Montemor-o-Novo, with Town Gate in background
The ruins of the Royal Palace at Montemor-o-Novo
The ruins of the building above
The Angel Tower & Gate (possible site of the cistern)
The Angel Tower & Gate (possible site of the cistern)
The Walls of the Castle
The walls of the Castle
The Church of St James
The Church of St James
The Tower of the Bad Hour
The Tower of the Bad Hour

Inside the Church of St James are wonderful frescos from the 17C and 18C.

Frescoes in the Church of St James, Montemor-o-Novo

Frescoes in the Church of St James, Montemor-o-Novo

Frescoes in the Church of St James, Montemor-o-Novo

Frescoes in the Church of St James, Montemor-o-Novo

And then it was time to take a backroad across the Alentejo to Vila Viçosa.

The road from Evora to Vila Vicosa

You may be interested in
Montemor-o-Novo
The Castle in the sunshine – blog post
Portugal’s Castles
Montemor-o-Novo – interesting photos & comments
Exploring the Alentejo

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