The castle at Almourol

Almourol Castle

Situated on an island in the river Tagus and only reachable by boat, Almourol Castle stands over the area known as Vila Nova da Barquinha. The development of the region commenced in the Reconquista period, when the river Tagus, which flows through the South of the municipality, was the border between the dominions of Christians and Moors.

In the 12th century, the defence of this border was the charge of the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar built several castles along the river to aid the defence of the border. One of these is the Castle of Almourol, built by the Master of the Portuguese Templars, Gualdim Pais, in 1171.

The Order of the Knights Templar was eradicated in 1307, when the need for the defence no longer existed and Almourol Castle was abandoned and forgotten. In the 19th century the castle was viewed as an example of the romantic ideals of the Middle Ages. This lead to the castle undergoing some restoration but in that process many of the original structures were actually destroyed. Some further restoration took place in the 1940s and 1950s and some important events of the dictatorship period were held within the walls of the castle.

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