When the Algarve met Seville
Castles of Portugal: Sabugal

Of Castles, Almonds and Trindade Coelho


The life of José Francisco Trindade Coelho is tied to the rugged Northeast of Portugal where he was born some 200 years ago. This Portuguese writer from the Trás-os-Montes region, born in 1861 in the town of Mogadouro. The town first became part of the kingdom of Portugal in the thirteenth century. The land was then ceded to the Order of the Knights Templar, who founded a castle here, although this now stands in ruins. As Trindade Coelho wrote, the best time to visit this region is in February/March, when the almond-trees are in blossom and the fields are covered with a blaze of white. These beautiful landscapes are best admired from the hilltops of the Serra da Castanheira or from the nearby castle of Penas Róias. Trindade Coelho was also a judge and a politician.  His books chronicled the rural life of his childhood in Trás-os-Montes. He was a strong advocate for the end of Portugal's monarchy.
In 1891, he wrote this of the Castle of Mogadouro, in Tipos da Terra - Os Meus Amores
Up high, dominating the dark chimneys of the roof tops, the ancient castle,
Roman in origin, was saddening with its fallen defenses, and vast walls in ruin.
To its side rose stubbornly
an old clock tower,
in a primitive style.
It was 11 p.m., and it still read 7,
that damned thing never got it right.


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