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, Terena, Monsaraz, 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.)
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 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 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.
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…
Just outside the town is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Boa Nova.
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.
And then we set off to find our next castle with a final sight of Terena.