We set off from the Pousada D João IV in Vila Viçosa to explore castles along the Portuguese border with Spain.
Alandroal Castle was built between 1294-98 by Master Builder Mouro Calvo (a Moor) under commission from Lourenco Alfonso, the 9th Master of The Order of Avis. King Dinis I was on the Portuguese throne and the castle was part of a defensive chain to protect the borders of Portugal against the Spaniards.
The walls are intact, and I found three gateways. The Towers are square, with tunnels which take the walkways along the walls through the towers, an architectural feature which I understand is also found in the Moorish buildings in Seville. This castle is considered one of the best examples of Mudejar art in Portugal, with Islamic features which are still being uncovered. At the time, the 13C, the Christians had taken control of Portugal, but used builders trained in the Islamic traditions resulting in the mix of styles.
A second gate also leads into the town.
A third gateway into the Castle of Alandroal has an interesting metre measure mark on the outside wall. (The Church and Hospital of the Misericordia are just outside this gate.)
All I can establish about the Mother Church inside the castle walls is that it is 16C and known as the Parish Church of Our Lady of Grace.
Houses are built outside, against the walls of the castle, and in the background of the photograph below is the Church of the Misericordia.
The establishment of the Church and Hospital of the Misericordia is somewhat uncertain, but it may be the early 1500s. When I return I will try to get into the Churches, which seem to be extraordinary – there are apparently two churches, 16C and 17C. The Fountain of 1872 in the wall opposite the building replaced an old well, and earlier fountain.
There is much more to see but we were on a castle hunt and so moved on to find Terena.