Castles in Portugal’s Alentejo – Mourao

Mourão was another of the border towns disputed by Spain and Portugal in the 13C until in 1297 King Dinis signed the Treaty of Alcañices with the Spanish King, Fernando IV, and Mourão became a Portuguese possession, although the fighting and disputes did not end. (The history of this town and its castle is very confusing, and this site shows there is no simple, quick explanation.)

16-4-18 Mourao LR-3109

The Castle was built during the reign of King Dinis’ son, Alfonso IV (1291-1357) by João Afonso. Further work was carried out in the 16C, and in the 17C fortifications were added in the Vauban style by Nicholas of Langres and Pierre de Sainte-Colombe who had also worked at MonsarazOn the information board and Google Maps the Mediaeval walls are clear, surrounded by the 17C fortifications.

16-4-18 Mourao LR-3105

16-4-18 Mourao LR-3054

Mourao Castle, Google Maps

Inside the walls the buildings, apart from the Church, are in ruins. There are eleven square towers, and two, perhaps three, gates. We entered through the Church Gate with its two small guns, and there is another gate (blocked up) leading towards the Alqueva Reservoir.

The Town Gate, Mourao Castle
The Town Gate, Mourao Castle
The Town Gate, Mourao Castle
The guns at The Town Gate, Mourao Castle
The blocked gate (inside the walls) facing the Alqueva Reservoir
The blocked gate (inside the walls) facing the Alqueva Reservoir
The blocked gate (outside the walls) facing the Alqueva Reservoir
The blocked gate (outside the walls) facing the Alqueva Reservoir

There is a ruined building near the blocked gateway…

16-4-18 Mourao LR-3060

And more ruins alongside the Church, with a coat of arms I can’t identify…

16-4-18 Mourao LR-3064 16-4-18 Mourao LR-3062

The 17C fortifications (just visible under all the vegetation) can be found by walking around the outside of the Mediaeval walls.

17C fortifications, Mourao

16-4-18 Mourao LR-3070

16-4-18 Mourao LR-3076

A very easy walk to the 15C Chapel of St Sebastian, close to the Reservoir, leads away from the blocked gateway and down a flowery path.

Cistus in the Alentjo

Wild flowers, Alentejo

The Chapel of St Sebastian, Mourao

The Chapel of St Sebastian, Mourao

The Chapel of St Sebastian, Mourao
The Chapel of St Sebastian, Mourao

And then it was time to turn round, return to the Castle, and drive back to Vila Viçosa.

The Castle of Mourao

You may be interested in
The History of Mourão
Portugal in a Campervan – delightful blog
Holidaying in the area
Mapping the Country – foreign engineers in Portugal in the 17C

 

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