Before I take you to Beja in 2018 we are going to hop back to 2017 when we were based at Vila Viçosa and spent four wonderful days exploring the area. On this day rain was forecast so we planned a little car tour and activities and walks which offered shelter!
The Marble Museum in Vila Viçosa is interesting, as are the quarries between Vila Viçosa and Borba but I was taken aback by the destruction of the countryside. I couldn’t help feeling that marble bathrooms and offices didn’t quite justify what was happening to an irreplaceable resource.
Juromenha is c.30 minutes away from Vila Viçosa and I had visited before, in the rain – this time it was brilliant sunshine. Juromenha was and one of the border fortifications built to protect Portugal from Spain. The lookout over the River Guadiana, the border with Spain, is extraordinary. Why was a fort built here? Apparently it is possible to cross the Guadiana at this point. The site has been occupied for thousands of years and this fort dates to 9C and the Almohad Dynasty. It was rebuilt by King Dinis in the 14C and again the 17C along the lines of the Vauban Forts by Nicolau de Langres.
Inside the walls there is a small Chapel of Mercy, the Governor’s House (with white windows below), and the Parish Church, but it is mainly derelict.
Do visit! From here we visited Borba – next post.