Calçada Portuguesa: Portugal's wonderful sidewalks
Castle of Montemor-o-Velho

Castle of Santa Maria da Feira

Afonso Henriques had his hands full in creating a nation. Enemies lay on all sides; men and gold were hard to find. Yet, he molded his people into a true nation-state, and not only defended them, but vanquished all who dared to stand in his way. At Feira he rebuilt a granite castle to defend the flanks of his nation. The lovely green hillock was perfect for a castle, and ancient fortifications existed on the spot. D. Afonso’s son, D. Sancho I favored the spot so much that he ordered in his will that his wife live there. In the middle of the 15th century, King D. Afonso V entrusted the castle to Fernão Pereira, who began to turn the old castle into a fortified palace. His son, Rui, fancied himself a feudal lord and took the title of lord of Feira. He built the massive keep, with its great hall, pepper pot towers, and rare murder hole/latrine in the walls and placed his coat of arms above the gate.  The well-preserved castle is a sight to be seen in its size and grandeur.  The keep is the largest in Portugal in terms of width, and it takes some 60 steps to reach the roof. Lines of perimeter walls and a fine barbican surround the wide keep. Archer loops in the form of a cross are found throughout the fortifications. And the panoramic view from the walls is as vast as the castle.





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