Castles in Portugal’s Alentejo – Terena

The Castle of Terena was one of the chain of castles either built or fortified by King Dinis (1261-1365) to protect the borders of Portugal from Spain. The castles in this area (we were based in Vila Vicosa) are Elvas, Juromenha, Vila Vicosa, Alandroal, TerenaMonsaraz, and Mourão.

We left Alandroal on a flowery Alentejan road and soon a castle popped into view on the horizon. (D on the map above.)

The Alentejo in Spring Terena Castle

Accounts vary on when the Castle of Terena was actually built, but there are records of a fortification on the site in the 13C, with further buildings works in 16C and possibly 17C. The Castle was damaged in the 1755 earthquake and is now a field of wild flowers, with some reconstruction work in the 20C.

The Castle of Terena
The Castle of Terena
Information board, Terena Castle
Information board, Terena Castle

The Village Gate was the Keep of the Castle and was changed to the Village Gate in c.1514 by Francisco Arruda, the architect who was working on the Castle. The original entry gate is uncertain. Arruda added an elbow bend to the gateway for security reasons.The gateways are very simple, with just a few ropelike carvings on the inner doorway.

The Tower of the main gate, Terena Castle
The Tower of the Village Gate (the Main Gate), Terena Castle
The main gate, Terena Castle
The Village Gate (the Main Gate), Terena Castle

Daisies at the Terena Castle main gate

Carvings on the inner door of the Village Gate, Terena Castle
Carvings on the inner door of the Village Gate, Terena Castle
The Keep and Town Gate from inside the walls, Terena Castle
The Keep and Town Gate from inside the walls, Terena Castle

The Field Gate, or Sun Gate, also seems to be called the Traitors’ Gate and is described as between two semi-circular towers. I believe this is the gate. The gateway is blocked up and rubble has raised the level of the ground.

Field Gate/Sun Gate/Traitor's Gate, Terena Castle
Field Gate/Sun Gate/Traitors’ Gate, Terena Castle
The Traitors' Gate, Terena Castle
The Traitors’ Gate, Terena Castle

16-4-18 Terena-2964

16-4-18 Terena-2960

The view over the Alentejo from outside the Castle of Terena The view over the Alentejo from outside the Castle of Terena

It was quiet and warm and we were the only people in the Castle – even the town seemed deserted. I would love to return and linger…

One of the two main streets in Terena

Just outside the town is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Boa Nova.

The main facade of the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Boa Nova, Terena
The main facade of the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Boa Nova, Terena

The Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Boa Nova is considered a Church-Fortress, like Flor da Rosa, and important architecturally and historically. It was probably built on the site of an earlier building and the structure, it is suggested, points to builders connected to a military order. One source names the Order of Avis, and yet other sources say it was built in 1340 by D.Maria (the wife of the King of Spain and daughter of the King of Portugal) to thank the Portuguese for their support in fighting the Muslims in Spain.

The Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Boa Nova, Terena

And then we set off to find our next castle with a final sight of Terena.

The Castle & Village of Terena from the Chapel of Boa Nova
You may be interested in
Nossa Senhora de Boa Nova (in Portuguese) & here
Taking a course in Terena – lovely blog
Explore the Alentejo – marvellous short article

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s