A walk through Beja in Portugal

Visiting an area or town for the first time usually means seeing the ‘obvious’ sights first, returning if there is time and I particularly enjoyed something, then I move on to the ‘secondary’ sights, and after that I am free to wander at will! Put like that it sounds a bit obsessional but I like to understand as best I can the history or background of the area I am visiting.

The Pousada in Beja is just outside the walls of the old town and we walked through what must have been one of the Gates of the town to our first stop, the Regional Museum, the Museum of Rainha Donna Leonor, which is situated in the former Royal Convent of Our Lady of the Conception of the 15C. I returned to this building because it was so beautiful and will post separately – this is just a whistle-stop tourist tour of the town!

Museum of Rainha Donna Leonor
Museum of Rainha Donna Leonor
The original Church of the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao
The original Church of the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao

From here it is a brisk ten-minute walk through the Republic Square with the Igreja da Misericorda at one end to the Castle. This was the site of a Roman fortification, and then a Moorish Castle – I find I am very aware of times passed in Portugal’s Alentejo. The Mediaeval Tower was built entirely from marble, the Torre de Menagem, and is a landmark in the town.

The Republic Square in Beja
The Republic Square in Beja

The Castle of Beja
The Castle of Beja
Tower of Belagem, Beja
Tower of Belagem, Beja
A Roman gateway next to the Castle
A Roman gateway next to the Castle

And adjacent to the Castle is the Cathedral of St James which dates from 1590, built on the site of an earlier church.

The Cathedral of Beja, adjacent to the Castle
The Cathedral of Beja, adjacent to the Castle
The Cathedral of Beja
The Cathedral of Beja
The Cathedral of St James, Beja
The Cathedral of St James, Beja

Just outside the walls of the town is the Church of Santa Amaro which houses the Visigothic collection of the Regional Museum and is also one of the most important Visigothic collections in Portugal.  The church is on the site of a Visigothic Temple dating to 6C and some parts of the Temple are incorporated into the church, making it one of the oldest buildings in Portugal. More pre-historic and Roman remains of the town can be seen in the Museum of Rua Sembrano.

There are many churches in Beja but they are often closed. The Church of Santa Maria, near the Regional Museum, the Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade (which houses the altars from the Pousada), and the Church of Our Lady of Joy next to one of the gates into the town, are just a few which we passed.

The Church of Santa Maria, Beja
The Church of Santa Maria, Beja
The Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade
The Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade
Church of Our Lady of Joy, Beja
Church of Our Lady of Joy, Beja

This was just a whistle-stop tour – I am going to show you the Regional Museum at a more leisurely pace, and wander through the town with my camera.

Further information
Interesting post on a visit to Beja

One comment

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.