Marvão Things to Do

  • Santa Maria Church
    Santa Maria Church
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  • Marvão
    Marvão
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  • Marvão
    Marvão
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Best Rated Things to Do in Marvão

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    The Village 'Garden'

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    The Village Gardens & Castle Fortifications

    Once you have parked just outside the village walls, you can wander up beautiful narrow steets with whitewashed walls until you arrive at the top of the village part of Marvao. From here, beside the Santa Maria Church, there is a great view out over the well-kept gardens, with the main castle fortifications in the background. To the left of the gardens, is a smaller wall that surrounds the entire village but is not part of the main defenses. The shrubs in this garden have actually been shaped to spell out the name of the village!

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    Town View

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    Marvao Perched on its Peak

    Walking through the botanical garden and entering the main part of the castle, not far from where two large water cisterns are located to help over come any problems during a prolonged siege, it is possible to mount the walls and look back toward the village. Here, the garden is seen from the other direction and it also offers a good view of the Santa Maria Church built in the 13/14th Century. The small wall around the village itself is meant more for safety reasons rather than as actual defensive fortifications.

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    The First View

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Dec 3, 2004

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    The Main Fortifications of Marvao

    Located atop a 2830 ft (860 m) peak in the Serra de Sao Mamede mountains of central Portugal, Marvao has been used as a defensive fortification for thousands of years. First used by the Romans and then held by the Moors, this village is believed to have been named after Maruan, one of those Arab horsemen. Finally wrested back under Christian control in 1166, the fortifications were built up over the next hundred years by the Portugese. Being located only 4 miles (6 km) from the Spanish border, this became one of Portugal's main border defense posts in later years as Portugal sought to maintain its independence from its larger neighbour.

    This photo show the main defensive towers, at one end of the village (including the high 'keep'), with the castle walls stretching off into the distance toward the village located within its protective embrace.

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    Main Fortified Area

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    The Interior Courtyard of the Castle

    This view was taken from the main 'keep' at the far end of Marvao, looking back over the main fortifications of the castle. At the far end are the towers that defend the entrance gate leading to the village, and the top of the white church tower is just visible over the walls. Located inside these main walls are two smaller white buildings.

    At the far left, just visible below the wall, are some tour busses in the parking lot where we left our car as well - going the rest of the way on foot!

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    The Houses of Marvao

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    Traditional Alentejo Houses

    The narrow streets of Marvao are lined with the traditional houses of the Alentejo, mainly constructed of clay and with few openings to ensure that both the cold winter and hot summer temperatures are kept out! Also visible are the traditional blue or yellow decorative stripes on the white-washed walls, seen so often in this part of Portugal.

    The problem with building a village on top of a peak as high as this is, how do you keep the people there? It was always a long walk up and down to any sort of fertile ground and a fresh water source was always a problem until relatively recent times. Over the centuries, the village has been populated with fugatives or special incentives were given to live here in order to keep the numbers up. Today, only 185 people live within the walls, but the growing popularity of tourism is giving the village a new lease on life!

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    It's a Long Climb Up!

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    Built into the Granite Mountain

    Making full use of its dominating position, the walls of the castle use the natural rock formations to impede the progress of any attacker. By the time you have climbed that high over the rock face, you still would have to face the defenders on the walls and in their protective towers.

    There is a beautiful view out over the countryside and toward the Spanish border from high up here!

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    Solid Walls

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    Typical Portugese Defensive Turrent

    The main walls of Marvao were built in 1299 by Dom Dinis to increase its defensive strength against any counter-attacks by the Moors who had been evicted about 100 years earlier. Later on, when things between Spain and Portugal heated up, several large buttresses were added in the 1600s at crucial locations along the walls.

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  • jorgec25's Profile Photo

    The Castle

    by jorgec25 Written Apr 8, 2009

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    Castle
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    the castle of Marvão provides spectacular views, due to it's location, 850 m above sea level.

    It has a well preserved central tower (menagem) and water deposit, and we can stroll along it's walls, enjoying the views of the town and the landscape around them.

    the castle was already known in the Xth century, being refered as the Fortress of Amaia.

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  • micas_pt's Profile Photo

    The castle

    by micas_pt Written Jan 14, 2010

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    The castle walls overlooking surrounding plains

    Marvão is dominated by its castle. It is a military construction dating from the 12th century. It has always represented a major defensive point in our nation's history.

    The castle is built on top of a 800 metre high rock and with fabulous views over the surrounding plains; on clear days, one may see till Serra da Estrela and Serra da Gardunha. This characteristic together with the fact that Spain is only 13 km away make its location unbeatable. One must keep in mind that for centuries Portugal fought with Spain about the conquer of lands and this point was one of the main entry points in Portugal, which was protected by the construction of this fortification.

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    Marvao castle

    by salinhopt Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Mravao - Castle

    Marvao Castle was built by King Dinis in about 1299, the castle dominates the village. Its walls enclose two cisterns and a keep and offer spectacular views south and west towards the Serra de Sao Mamede and eastward to the Spanish frontier.

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    Municipal Museum

    by ncfg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Municipal Museum

    The Santa Maria church now is a museum.
    You pay 1 euro if you want to visit it.
    Worth a visit, it displays local ethnological and cultural traditions and archaeological finding. It is near the Tourist Office.

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    Streets inside the fortress

    by ncfg Updated Nov 23, 2003

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    Walking trough the narrow streets inside the fortress filled with neat white houses, you have a special feeling about the quiet people’s life that live in such beautiful place.
    When I was there it was very hot, but the shadows of those houses, a bottle of fresh water and such beauty was a good incentive to continue the visit.

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    The Marvão Castle and the walls

    by ncfg Updated Nov 23, 2003

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    This tranquil town is completely surrounded by walls dating from the 13th to the 17th century. You walk trough the streets and when you finally reach the castle, well, you can see all from there, all the houses and an amazing landscape.
    Be prepared to walk, the castle is very big but it worth the effort.

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    Pelourinho

    by ncfg Updated Nov 23, 2003

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    This little monument (pillory) is from XV century .
    This jurisdictional landmark of Manueline typology, is implanted ahead in the Square of the old City Hall.
    I think that every old town and villages has a pillory ahead the City Hall.
    Mine has :-)

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  • micas_pt's Profile Photo

    Garden and enigmatic construction

    by micas_pt Written Jan 15, 2010

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    Garden, overlooking the castle
    1 more image

    By Santa Maria church there is a very pleasant botanical garden. Even during winter months the garden is well-kept. The first photo that illustrates this tip was shot in December 2004 and as you may see the garden is green even though it's winter. After walking down from the castle it feels very good to sit on a wooden bench and relax on this green space while enjoying the magnificent views.

    A bit after this garden, walking towards São Tiago church, you may find a construction that is typical of Marvão, mainly along the border with Spain: chafurdão. My second photo is about this construction. It is round and made of stone and usually they were built on rock. Various studies have been made around this construction but no conclusions were made: there is no knowledge of its purpose or date of construction. Some were used as houses, some as animal shelters. Some say they are of Celtic origin, some say they date from the Dark Age.

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Marvão Things to Do

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