In a plane and dry area called Alentejo, some hills are usually chosen to concentrate the small towns.
In the plane, Reguengos de Monsaraz is a new town that became capital of large scale wine producing, but atop the hill, inside the medieval walls, the old town has been preserved, and keeps the look of the traditional villages of Alentejo.
Though too much touristy, it is one of the most attractive points of Alentejo, with the only drawback of standing far from everything, forcing us to plan an express visit, and never a stop in a common way.
Discreetly lined with the white houses, there's a small church that (it seems - I couldn´t read much about it) is dedicated to St John.
It was closed, so I don't know how to visit it (and if it deserves to be visited or not)
By the church, in the northern side of the small square, there's an interesting building called "Antigos Passos da Audiência". I tried to read about it, but, so far, I couldn´t find much.
It is a building from the 12th to the 14th century and its name suggests that it was used as a local court.
Built in the 16Th century, during the black pest, because the older one couldn't receive all the dead needing sepulture. It has a heavy and strong look, almost Romanic, but it was built according to Renaissance plans. It has a gilded altar and some tombs
All houses in Monsaraz respect the general medieval look. Some of them are really old and classified, as, for instance the Governor's house, used in the old days by the military governor and the out-coming judges, nowadays belonging to Evora university.
Cars are not allowed inside the walls, but parking is easy near the main door of the walled village. To preserve the village most of its live and development was transferred to Reguengos de Monsaraz, in the plane and not too far.
Monsaraz lives to and from tourism, and passing the main door is really a sensation of entering the past.
Tourism in winter decreases, and imagination is needed. In Monsaraz, they decided to create a nativity scene, at human scale, and spread it all over the city.
We were there in a cold night, and got impressed by the calm an silence surrounding the presentation.
At the very end of Monsaraz main street there's the castle. It has a particularity - I think that it is the only one that houses... a bullring.
Funny detail, in a building that dominates a very beautiful small city inside its walls.
To help maintain its medieval character, Monsaraz is off-limits to cars within its walls during the daytime. The road that winds up the hillside from the Alentejo plains ends at a large parking lot, from which entrance can be gained on foot through this gate in the walls that surround the village. The two tower gates seem oddly out of balance with only one of them having a square tower perched atop the circular battlements. The present day walls and keeps of Monsaraz were added by Dom Dinis in the 1300s and they are still maintained in fine shape today!
side by side with the church a beautifull building,
used as a tourist house.
there you can get informations about the castle and the main buildings inside.
a complete information about the region and best sights.
being an european country, obviously portugal were right in the middle of those spooky times. the inquisition house is the living proof of their presence. maibe because of that the house for years were abandoned. now is being refurbished.
i believe we shouldn't forget IT.
fortifications and walled town of Monsaraz. the main fortress has a trapezoid shape flanked by four square towers. the mediaeval wall dates from the 7C and consists of fortified ramparts. from the top of the keep, there is a panoramic view over the surrounding Portuguese and Spanish countryside. a overall charming villa inside it s walls. one of the portuguese villages with those characteristics.
nossa senhora da lagoa is the only church inside monsaraz walls.
beautifull and gorgeous one.
at night the lights facing the church makes a wonderfull view of it. gold and yellow lights towards the fa?ade is a night feature when visiting Monsaraz..
The view from Monsaraz to the surrounding plains and lakes is fantastic. While in Monsaraz, be sure not to miss the views from:
- the entrance door: before entering the main door to the village, there are a few spots from which you may enjoy a breathtaking view, both over the planted fields and lakes, as well as over the neighboring villages.
- the castle: being on a higher spot, there is a wonderful 360º view to everything that surrounds Monsaraz, including the village itself.
Some allude to Monsaraz as the balcony to the Alqueva lakes.
Wondering through the narrow streets of Monsaraz is one of my favourite activities each time I visit this village. The side streets are so pleasant to visit and observe the small houses, built side by side and with backyards where inhabitants proceed with their peaceful daily life. If visiting these streets, notice that some houses seem to be built to top of huge rocks.
Some of these streets are very steep and built in stones, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. But it will surely be worth the effort, as some of them will lead you to the walls surrounding the village on top of the hill which provide breathless landscapes.