Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Castelo Mendo - Portugal

Castelo Mendo is one of the twelve Aldeias Históricas (Historical Villages) of Portugal, seven of them are located in my district and Castelo Mendo is one of them. These villages stand out for their military architecture and all of them had a significant role in the portuguese history. The aim of the program Aldeias Históricas, was to restore and promote them.

Photo by: Marta Cairrão
The historical small village of Castelo Mendo is a very ancient locality, situated on a granite hill, at about 756 meters high.
For centuries this was a strategic defence point, with difficult accesses, surrounded by an arid and trimmed landscape, and by the river Côa.
The human presence vestiges date back from the Bronze Age and from the Roman occupation period, and the village is surrounded by Walls dating from the 12th century, with six medieval doors.
The majority of the village buildings, rural and with two floors (the lower ground for the cattle and other animals, and the upper ground housing the family residence) are built with granite stone, as it is typical in several villages from the Beira’s region.
Widely known was the Medieval Fair of this village, probably the first official Fair in the country. - in:

Photo by Marta Cairrão
In the village there's a few churches, some in ruins like this one, the Stª Maria Church, built before Portugal's foundation (10th century).

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