Castle of Almourol

2260 Praia do Ribatejo, Portugal

Simona Bertolaso

Praia do Ribatejo


Palazzi, Ville e Castelli
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The Castle of Almourol is a medieval castle atop the islet of Almourol in the middle of the Tagus River.The Castle of Almourol is regarded as Portugal’s most beautiful castle! Situated on a small cliffy island is one of the most significant military Medieval monuments, which best evokes the memory of the Knights Templar in Portugal.The origins of the occupation of this place are quite mysterious, but in 1129 the castle already existed and it was called Almorolan. It is believed to have been first a pre-Roman Lusitanian and then a Roman fort, before later being occupied by the Moors.
Under the ruling of the Knights Templar the castle was rebuilt and it still presents today the main artistic and architectural features of that time. The main door shows the date of the castle’s foundation: 1171.

With the extinction of the Order of the Knights Templar in Portugal the castle was somehow abandoned. It was not until the 19th century that the castle was reinvented according to a Romanticism ideal of the Medieval flair.

In the 20th century, the castle of Almourol was converted in official residence of the Portuguese Republic, hosting several important events of the dictatorship.
The castle was then substantially restored in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

It now consists of a three story keep and surrounding walls with battlements, crenellations and towers, 18 meters above the river on a woody islet. In the nearby town of Barquinha to the west, within the Centro Cultural de Vila Nova da Barquinha, is the Centro de Interpretação Templário with information in English and Portuguese on the history of the castle and the Templars. Wall panels, video, mannequins in chain mail and real objects from the period help visitors to understand the spirit of the age.

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