Policy in Portugal was largely influenced by the dimension of rural properties - small state in the half north, with thousands of owners led to conservative people; large state in Alentejo led to... communism.
Agriculture is no longer the main activity in the area, but it still has a great influence. The annual agricultural fair, Ovibeja, is a great event, with lots of cultural and sportive activities.
I was taken there by a friend who wished to buy ducks. After a very amusing day we went back with two roosters fighting for the two poor hens.
A neglected beauty if you care to look
"Tired, faded, but still interesting"
Beja conjures up a place of extremes, like no other place here in Portugal. A place of extreme heat in summers, above 45 degrees and even on occasion more than an unimaginable 50 degrees Celsius, and cold winters. Situated in the middle of the vast Alentejo plains, the place can be seem bleak and isolated. Just pick up a map of Portugal and see that it's smack in the middle of nowhere. It has been more known as an industrial town and a center, obviously in that part of the country, but never as a travel destination. Most people probably would think that after Evora and the towns on the east, a further drive southwards to Beja might not be worth it. But this impression is a discredit to this once venerable town. I have only just scratched the surface, having just myself "passed by" for a quick lunch on our way from point to point. But I discovered, happily, that Beja has definitely things to offer the occasional visitor, including remnants of its Moorish legacy. It is still one of the few places left in Portugal which is still untouched by tourism.
Beja - Portugal Page
"Beja - Land of cork trees and more"
If you ask a Portuguese person about Beja they will tell you NOT to go there as it is in the middle of a desert and it is full of really sloooooow people (it is in Alentejo).
Beja is a small town located in the southeastern part of Portugal and at one time was a very important part of the Moors Empire.
There is much history here and some neat things to see and do so if you do ever find yourself in Beja look around and see what you can find.
"Beja history from the Catholic Encyclopedia"
The city is supposed to be the Pax Julia, or Paca, of the Romans, and is still surrounded by remains of old Roman walls, which however, were partly restored during the Middle Ages. Beja was taken from the Moors in 1162 by Affonso Henriques. It stands on the summit of a high hill surrounded by beautiful and fertile valleys under cultivation, as the district is rich in agricultural products, mainly cereals, olive oil, and wine. The best example of medieval architecture still extant in Portugal is the castle built in Beja by King Dom Diniz. It is a square, massive structure 120 feet high, from the top of which the whole of the Alemtejo country and the Cintra mountains may be seen. The walls of the castle are covered with hieroglyphics. Beja was in its early days an episcopal city, but at the time of the invasion by the Moors lost its dignity. The Cathedral of Beja is an old temple, though so much modernized as to make it impossible to determine with any degree of certainty its original date. Other famous churches are those of Our Lady of the Conception, St. Iago, or Santiago, and Santa Maria de la Feira, said to have been an old Moorish mosque. The College of St. Sissenando, which belonged to the Jesuits, and was built principally at the expense of Donna Maria Sophia, in 1695, stands in the street where the saint was born. Part of this building is now occupied by the episcopal palace. The city has about 8,000 inhabitants, modern improvements, schools, banks, libraries, etc. It is said to be the richest in Roman remains of all the cities in Portugal, except Evora, which now possesses a large collection of Roman antiquities collected in Beja.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
Imprimatur.+John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York
"Just outside of town"
Nowadays Beja is a farming community and a University town with a strange mix of farmers, students and migrant workers.
We have worked in this town a few times and look forward to visiting it as we find something new each time we do.
Staying in a 5 star hotel on a hacienda
"Vila Vita Alentejo"
After arrival from Lisbon airport and driving by bus for about 2 hours arrival at the Entrance of the Vila Vita Alentejo "Herdade dos Grous", a country style park and hotel resort area. Doesn't look very inviting on first glance. Hot and dusty
"Going to the top of the area"
Going up hill to the country house of Vila Vita Alentejo
"Maurian style architecture"
The simple beautiful architecture of the house fascinated. Inside shiny terracotta tiles and marvellous furniture, bath in marble, all airconditioned.
Another view from the lake to the Vila Vita.
"Seminar Participants Accomodation"
Those are the guest houses for participants in seminars. All rooms with tlephone, aircon, TV, bathroom with shower and bath tab, terrace or balcony facing lake or swimming pool.
"Connecting Bridge to farming area"
Taking a bycicle ride and exploring the area
"View of the Vila Alentejo Park"
Always out for a good shot.
"Fomer Farmer's House"
Prior to converting this area to a tourist and seminar hotel compound it was occupied by several farmers who are now employees in this area. They are given salaries and accomodation and take care of machines, animals and landsacping. One of the old farmer's houses is still left in this area because storks are coming back every year for breading.
Suffragan diocese of Lisbon, Portugal, established by Pope Julius III in 1550. Its first bishop was Julian d'Alva, a Spaniard, who was transferred to Miranda in 1557. On 17 July, 1560, Andiz' de Noronha succeeded to the diocese, but he was promoted to Placencia in 1581. Frei Amador Arraes, the next bishop, was the author of a celebrated book of "Dialogues"; he resigned in 1582, and retired to the college of his order in Coimbra, where he remained till his death. Lopo Soares de Albergaria and Frei Manoel de Gouveia died before receiving the Bulls confirming their nomination. Diego Conra, nephew of the Venerable Bartholomew of the Martyrs and Bishop of Ceuta, became bishop in 1598, and died on 9 October, 1614. Among the bishops of Portalegre during the seventeenth century was Ricardo Russell, an Englishman, who took possession of the see on 17 September, 1671, and was subsequently transferred to Vizeu. The present bishop is Antonio Mutinho, transferred from Caboverde in 1909. The diocese contains 197,343 Catholics, 16 Protestants, 148 parishes, 286 priests, 447 churches and chapels.
Transcribed by Jose Miguel D.L. Pinto DosSantos