Reguengos de Monsaraz is a Portuguese city in the district of Évora, in the Alentejo region and Central Alentejo sub-region, with around 12400 inhabitants. It is the head of a municipality with around 14900 inhabitants that is subdivided in 5 villages. The council is limited north by the municipality of Alandroal, east by Mourão, southeast by Moura, southwest by Portel, west by Évora and northeast by Redondo. It became the head of the council for the first time in 1838 and definitely in 1851. It was elevated to the administrative category of town in 1840 and city in 9th December 2004. Reguengos de Monsaraz is the second largest city in the district of Évora, constituting one of the four councils that compose the suburban area of Évora, which are Arraiolos, Montemor-o-Novo and Viana do Alentejo. The villages of Reguengos de Monsaraz are Campinho, Campo, Corval, Monsaraz e Reguengos de Monsaraz.


Patrimony

  • The Castle of Monsaraz, Alentejo, located in the village of Monsaraz, in Portugal. Adjacent to the River Guadiana and the modern water mirror of Alqueva Dam, stands on the hill Monsaraz, overlooking the medieval town and the border with Spain. Its medieval military architecture combines medieval and seventeenth century elements. Within the same there is a dream town that still retains its original architecture of the middle Ages, a clear identification at the time of feudalism.
  • The Hermitage of St. Catherine of Monsaraz, situated on the outskirts of Monsaraz stands out for its unique castellated structure, which many authors attribute to a Templar membership. Founded probably in the thirteenth century, this small temple consists of two separate bodies, which correspond to a rectangular nave and apse of hexagonal section. The front side presents a simple model, open in the lower register by a portal of straight frame line, which was torn on a telescope. The space of the apse is crowned by a set of merlons forming a tower already built in the sixteenth century. Inside, the nave has ample space with a Romanesque arch that allows access to the apse. This is covered by an ogival dome, under which it was torn a set of round arches topped by jagged frieze.
  • The Pillory of Monsaraz, is the symbol of jurisdiction and autonomy of the county, however, it is already from the eighteenth century, built of white marble in the region. It consists of three square steps of parapet on which stand the base assembly, column, chapiter and tail-end. The base consists of a parallelepiped on high, with carved moldings on the faces, which is based on the column.
  • The Church of Our Lady of the Lake, contemporary to the Christian repopulation of Monsaraz, the original church was built in the second half of the thirteenth century. It was always the most important temple of the town and the oldest reference known, dates to the time of D. Dinis. It disappeared during the reign of D. João I to build the new temple. This had its origin in the outbreak of the Black Death that ravaged Europe during the middle Ages. The small size of the original building did not allow the burial of countless residents of Monsaraz, victimized by the epidemic and therefore, it was decided to build a new headquarters. The present building dates back to the sixteenth century, more precisely from 1561, it is the kind of church-room in Renaissance manner.
  • The Inquisition House, located at the Quebra-Costas Street is a building of two floors with a curious tile panel, featuring some iconographic elements. According to tradition, this building was the home of the Inquisition. The reports of people describe it as a place of torture, where the inquisitors inflicted the most terrible tortures to the prisoners.
  • The Chapel of St. Joseph was founded in 1708 by Domingos Lourenço Perdigão, has the peculiarity of being built over an old fifteenth century house. It had as function to minister the divine services to the county jail inmates, which was overlooking the Direita Street.
  • The Old Town Hall Hearing and Fresco of Good and Bad Judge, which were in architectural terms, the noblest civil building and most representative of the ancient  Monsaraz, and is situated on the eastern facade of Direita Street. It was built in the second quarter of the fourteenth century, during the reign of D. Dinis and D. Afonso IV, as a consequence of economic and administrative development of the town. It also served as the county jail. The Court Room was decorated in the fifteenth century with a fresco that was for centuries covered with a brick partition and only in 1958 was this unique piece in Portugal, on the subject of profane theme, rediscovered and saved from destruction.
  • The Tank is a work of the late middle Ages, is paired on the east face with the wall, east to the medieval door of the Hole and bounded on the west in the public lane of the same name by a picturesque Gothic arch of stone, which gave transition to the general collector of water. Deposited on the terrace the storm water discharged through the numerous gutters attached to the eaves of the roofs, which penetrated the tank by two bottlenecks with stone beads, cylindrical in shape. This tank of enormous proportions, collected and stored the water fallen from the sky over the rooftops of Monsaraz, and constituted the main reservoir supplying the population.

Other Places to visit

  • The Alqueva Dam is the largest Portuguese dam, situated on the Guadiana river, in the Alentejo countryside, near the village of Alqueva. It has a height of 96m above the foundation and a crowning length of 458m. The installed capacity of electricity generation is 240MW. The reservoir reaches the full height, the 250 km2, being the largest artificial lake in Europe. It was constructed in order to irrigate the all Alentejo area and production of electricity in addition to other related activities.
  • The Aldeia da Luz, a small kind of Alentejo Atlantida, this ancient village on the left bank of the Guadiana was sacrificed in the name of progress. The filling of the Alqueva dam forced the displacement of the population to a new village, built from scratch in a point situated at an upper bound. Located in the new village of Luz, this museum, founded in 2003, was born after the sinking of the village. Its creation was born from the popular will to preserve its identity in the new village of Luz. In 2005, the museum received an honorable mention of the Portuguese Association of Museology.

Gastronomy

Regional Alentejana Gastronomy, hunting gastronomy, pies, “enchidos”, honey, “queijadas”, convent sweets, bread, wine and the traditional pennyroyal and granite liquors are delicious and unforgettable options. Don’t miss the chance to delight with a true specialty of the region.

For other useful information and details check the website: www.cm-reguengos-monsaraz.pt

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