This tower is situated by one of the village doors – it has therefore a defensive purpose. Curiously, there is a bell on top of this tower. Legend says that this tower was named after Saint Roque because in the 16th century many people died of the plague and they used to invocate saints to protect them. Later, in the 18th century, records say that there was a statue of Saint Roque on a niche on this tower.
The parish church in situated on the centre of the village by a small garden with orange trees where can be seen the pelourinho. The main chapel of this church is dedicated to Our Lady of Conception and inside there are azulejos (Portuguese tiles) from the 17th century – these tiles are white and hand painted in yellow and blue, a common Portuguese style.
The pelourinho is a common artefact on most ancient Portuguese villages - it is a medieval symbol of the local power and most times it was used to public executions. This particular pelourinho, dates from the 16th century. On top of it, there is an eagle – the symbol of this village and its town hall. Actually, there are 3 gargoyles on the pelourinho, but it used to be four; there is also a shield of the King D. João V epoch and a crown (18th century).
The Convent has a church, quite simple on the outside, with a belfry on the left side of the main entrance. Inside the church you will find 4 chapels, one of which (dedicated to Santo António) with azulejos – Portuguese tiles. These azulejos have a pattern that dates from the 17th century. Notice that the church has the same yellow stripes as the typical houses fro this region (Alentejo).
These walls were built in the 13th century when the military order of S. Bento de Aviz settled in this place. They were changed in the 15th century and there are few traces of the original walls left. Actually, some of them are part of private houses.
Nowadays they are classified as National Monument (although they don't look like they have been refurbished recently, ...).
This garden is called Jardim do Mestre (Master's Garden). It's a very small garden where elderly men sit and spend their quiet afternoons. Since this garden stands on the top of the hill you get a fabulous view over part of the village and the plains that surround it, as well as part of the dam.
I recommend a walk through the village (inside the castle walls). It won't take long and it's a pleasant way to get in touch with locals. When we walk and cross with locals, specially the elderly, they compliment us! Specially men (who still wear hat), stop their slow walking, look at you and greet you by taking off the hat or by waving their hands, ... You kind of feel welcome, everybody seems to greet you and welcome you.
The streets are narrow and most of the houses are small and white and have stripes around the door and the windows (typical houses from Alentejo).
The Main church of Aviz was built on the 15th century but almost totaly rebuilt during the 17th century.
A Mor-chapel is dedicated to Holy Lady of Conceicao and have side walls filed with patterned tiles from the 17th century From the 18th century is is althar with portuguese wooden "talha" with 2 columns with images of S. Peter and S. Paul on top.
Castle tower in Miguel Bombarda Square. Due to the strategic point of staying on top of a hill, Aviz along with some towers spread around the town, was a very important point of vigilance on the area.
This is an amazing church that belongs to the convent of Saint Bento of Aviz. With an original construction from the 15th century, during the 18th century it suffered som updates and changes.
From religious gothic architecture. The plan of the church still maintains medieaval aspects. From the gothic construction there are still left some stones with "brasoes" and the tomb of Rodrigues Monteiro. The Mor-Chapel is from the renaissance. The rest of the temple already shows aspects from the barroque.
This is an amazing image from the town. Below the hill you have the Barrage of Maranhao which consists on a very important water reservoir for the warm Alentejo region.
On this picture you can notice the typical colors of the Alentejo. Those greens with the ocre color gives a special touch to scene.
The S. Bento de Aviz Convent dates back to 1211 when D. Afonso II gave the place of Aviz to D. Fernandes Alves, master of the order, so that he could build a fortress and povoate this place. The main constructions were finished in 1222.
In the 15th century were done some changes that replaced the original buildings. In the 16th and 17th centuries was built a new building on the south side of the church - the S. Lamberto dormitory.
Some of the convent's buildings are very damaged while some others are classified as Monuments.
The north side of the convent lies on the medieval wall.
This door is called Arco do Anjo (Angel's Arch) and dates back to the 16th century. When you "enter" this door you will see the convent on your right side.