Amieira Castle in the Alentejo

Our days in the Alentejo always included a castle and so after walking we visited Amieira do Tejo,  a Mediaeval village high above the Tagus River in beautiful countryside.

Amiera Castle LR-3497

Amiera Castle LR-3500

Amieira and its castle were built as part of defences along the Tagus River by the Hospitallers in support of the King and as part of the first steps in retaking the country from the Moors. The area was given to the Hospitallers c.1194, but the castle was only built in the 14C. Other fortresses in the defence line are Tomar, Almourol, Abrantes, Belver, and Santarem – which we planned to visit on our way back to the airport in Lisbon.

Amiera Castle LR-3527

The Castle was completed in c.1362, commissioned by Álvaro Gonçalves Pereira, Prior of the Order of Hospitallers, the same Order whose headquarters were in Crato and which also built today’s Pousada at Flor da Rosa. The building is unusual in that it is the only square castle in Portugal. Conservation work was carried out as part of a plan to rejuvenate the small town and bring in tourists, but apparently this has not succeeded. I think conservation projects like this could succeed if people were prepared to linger in Portugal as independent travellers, not in guided tours which dash through the major sites, several in one day.

Armieira Castle (Google maps)

Amiera Castle with the Chapel on the left and the Keep on the right

Amiera Castle Wall

The Keep was used as a prison in the 15C and 16C, and the central courtyard/parade ground and cistern are still clear. Amiera Castle - the Keep

The astonishing Chapel of St John the Baptist dates from 1556. (Note the Cross of Malta over the doorway, the sign of the Order.)

The door into the Chapel of St John, Amieira The Chapel of St John the Baptist

The extraordinary ceiling in the Chapel of St John the Baptist, Amieira

The extraordinary ceiling in the Chapel of St John the Baptist, Amieira

Further information
Castle Tours in Portugal
The Conservation of the Castle
The Portuguese Soul along the Tagus River

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