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Estremoz and its History

2 nights in a superior double room with breakfast

1 dinner for 2 (drinks not included)

1 visit with a local professional tourist guide


Estremoz first visible imprints of History date from the Romans. But its history stretches to the Middle Ages when it played an important role in the fights against the Moors (who occupied a significant part of Southern Portugal). It seems that the name Estremoz comes from "estrema" or "estremada", both meaning a line dividing two military dominions. It was integrated in the Portuguese kingdom by King Dom Manuel in 1512, and was considered one of "the noblest villages in the kingdom" at the time. It was also a strategic location all along the Portuguese Restauration (subsequent to 1640), when its castle became a resistance stronghold against the Spanish.

It was also in Estremoz that two relevant moments in Portuguese History, involving two important figures from 14th century, took place: in 1336, already retired from public life in the Santa-Clara-a-Velha monastery in Coimbra, Dona Isabel de Portugal, the widow of king Dom Dinis and mother to King Afonso IV, travelled to Estremoz to mediate the peace between her son and the King of Castille, Afonso XI, who were about to enter into armed conflict. Old and tired, Dona Isabel, who later became canonized, was able to re-establish peace between the two kingdoms through her ingenious and generous diplomacy - the effort, sadly, was too much for her, as she died shortly afterwards in the Estremoz castle.

Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira, Lord of Estremoz, is another huge national figure associated with Estremoz and its castle. It is due of his intelligence, courage and infallible strategic military ways, that Portugal owes its independence from the Spanish in the critical years of 1383-1385, namely in the Atoleiros battle (1384), which took place very near Estremoz. In this battle, the Portuguese, with a tiny army, were able to triumph over the proud Spanish in less than an hour. Interestingly enough, and in honour to a life of virtue and total dedication to Portugal's causes, Don Nuno Alvares Pereira became canonized by Pope Bento XVI in 2009.

To relish all this, visit Estremoz with a local tourist guide, walk for about 2 hours and marvel at the architecture, the narrow cobbled stone streets and majestic squares, which become alive at sunset when most locals gather to have a drink and take a break from the heat.