The Castle and the River

This is a dam of the river Alqueva in Alentejo.

Alentejo is a very dry land, with little rain and high temperatures so this region is known for being dry and extremely hot in the summer. To face this fact and to make this region more productive, less dry and to attract more tourists and visitors, it was built a few years ago a dam in Alqueva.

Alentejo is a very dry land, with little rain and high temperatures so this region is known for being dry and extremely hot in the summer. To face this fact and to make this region more productive, less dry and to attract more tourists and visitors, it was built a few years ago a dam in Alqueva.

In consequence, some villages were submerged, lands were lost – the villages were transferred to other places and the population had to start a new life in places similar to where they had started. So the little mountains we see are old and actually not that little.

In fact, some of them were farmland.

This view is from Monsaraz and on the other side of the bridge, we can see Mourão. Monsaraz is a very beautiful village inside a castle. The history of the village starts in 1167 when it was conquered from the moors (like many other places in Portugal), but its statutory was conceded in 1276 by the king Afonso III. Over the centuries the castle was very important to protect the frontier with Castela (a part of Spain) and so the castle was known as “Sentinela do Guadiana” – Sentinel of the Guadiana.

Nowadays we can find some local commerce of souvenirs (like magnets, or postcards, typical images in a small size), some cotton clothes and scarfs which seem to be inspired in the medieval era and cork objects such as handbags, wallets. Besides the stores, near the castle, there are little tents selling some handmade accessories, clothes (for example, wool coats) and toys. The area of the village is small and so is the number of people who live there – approximately 782.

The houses there has a very traditional design, they follow the same pattern, all white with some flowers on the wall or on the entrance of the house.

So Monsaraz is a very beautiful place to stay for a few days, it is a place where you can feel the history, you can feel the nature, the old traditions and new ones. It is placed with a mix of generations, cultures and historical times.

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