Monsaraz, the airy medieval village of Monsaraz, retains its former magic as few places in the world. Made of lime and schist, this place whispers, among the echo of our footsteps in its streets, magnificent stories of daring kings, knights Templar, brave people and ladies of simple beauty.
Suspended in time, the historic Alentejo village, one of the oldest in Portugal, is a must-see destination in your list of places to visit in Alentejo. Especially after winning in 2017 the “Monument Villages” category of the 7 Wonders of Portugal – Villages competition.
Monsaraz – The History
Already showing signs of being a fortified castro during prehistoric times, Monsaraz has always had strong military and religious influences, impeccably preserved in time to the present day.
The Monsaraz’s privileged location, situated on the top of the hill overlooking the Guadiana and the Spanish border, has made it highly coveted by the people who disputed it. Then named Saris or Sarish, Monsaraz was conquered to the Muslims by Geraldo Without Fear in 1167, in a military incursion that left Evora.
After the defeat suffered in Badajoz, D. Afonso Henriques returns to lose control of Monsaraz to the Moors. However, in 1232, D. Sancho II recovers Monsaraz once and for all with the support and help of the Templars, to whom he eventually donates the beautiful Alentejo village. By the way, the marks left by the Order of the Temple, later Order of Christ, are still alive and in good health through the walls of Monsaraz.
Today the museum town of Alentejo, Monsaraz was the head of the county until the mid-nineteenth century, when the council administration is based in Reguengos de Monsaraz. A curiosity: did you know that Reguengos means “relative to King”, being directly linked to the Latin prefix regis (= King)? While the entire municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz has grown over the centuries, following modernity, Monsaraz has turned its back on time and remained as it wanted, girl and maiden – timelessly magnificent.