Monday, 5 November 2007

The Castle of Monsaraz in Alentejo

I took this photo last May, when we went to Reguengoz de Monsaraz in Alentejo for the week end. Its called the "Telheiro Fonte". Fonte means source or fountain in english.

We stoped here to ask for direction.I was just wondering and admiring the unusual arab stytle design at first from a distance,when i saw the an old pump and the roman numbers on the wall,it was then i realized that it must be a historical landmark in the area...

Alentejos capital in "Alta Alentejo" is Evora and for the "Baixa Alentejo" is Beja. Both these capital are rich in history, ruins,and historical buildings, due to its turbulent backgrounds of invasions, batles,ocupations, either by the Romans, Vandals, Moors or the feuding Royal families within Portugal after the "Reconquista "( reconquest) of the Castelo from the Moors by a famous soldier called Geraldo "Sem Pavor"(the Fearless).He then set on improving its fortification then gave the castle and village to the military Templars.

This small hilltop town of Monsaraz used to help guard and secure a section of the River Guadiana againts the Spanish.Perched on the hilltop,this little known small town is a "jewel in the crown" of Alentejo if not Portugal itself.It is a small group of dwellings that preserved most of its charm by retaining the old exteriors and preserving the original slated streets. The inhabitants of the town take pride in maintaining its medieval atmosphere with its few narrow streets that are in parts are quiet steep. The view from the 13th century castle are panoramicover the plains of Alentejo, the waters of the newly built Dam and the views toward the Spanish border as you can see from the photos below

During autumn, many neighbouring villages in this region use to create temporary makeshift bullring within the courtyard area to give the "local young bloods" the chance to show their courage and skills in confronting the charge of a young bull without any special protection or weapon.

We stayed in the castle to watch the sunset, managed only to take this shot from the cafe and a night view of the castle from the outside

And I will end this post with my favorite "Asulejo"(handpainted frame in tile)of a typical "alentjano house"in the region,used as a decorative frame on the wall of the house where we stayed for the week end.

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