Travels

Visit to Monsaraz in Portugal

Monsaraz (c) Javier Lopez Alonso


Streets of Monsaraz (c) Javier Lopez Alonso

From its walls, which embrace and protect the town, it unfolds before our eyes, on the one hand, the Alentejo plain with its splendid nature of olive trees and cork oaksand on the other, the Guadiana river, which advances silently turned into a border.

To cross its walls we must do it through one of the four doors that make our way to the heart of this town, which is undoubtedly its Mother Church, and the square it occupies. From this point, walking through its pedestrian streets, we reach the castle and its Tower of Tribute, built in the S. XIII. Next to the walls and the castle, Monsaraz has a whole defensive structure, with its unmistakable bastions, linked to the chain of fortresses of Elvas, Alandroal, Serpa, Mourâo or Campo Maior.

From the castle and following one of the two main streets we must travel the village to admire its beauty. Again in the square, with his Church of Mercy, endowed with a beautiful altarpiece, and its Parent Church, both good examples of the stylistic evolution of Alentejo architecture or by crossing the line that the walls draw on the landscape that shows magic from above.

There is more, since Monsaraz has seven churches, some of them of Arab origin, and with a Sala do Tribunal, of S. XV, which has a unique mural in Portugal. And if we still have time, we cannot miss the opportunity to discover the many prehistoric monuments found around the town. Dolmens, menhirs and cromlechs make this area one of the great megalithic complexes of Portugal.

The spell of Monsaraz is especially in its numb calm, in its clean air, in its calm people, in the sounds that rise from the field.

Monsaraz (c) Javier Lopez Alonso