Castelo de Almourol | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Castelo de Almourol

Praia do Ribatejo, Centro, Portugal

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020

About Castelo de Almourol

Almourol Castle (Castelo de Almourol) is the most magical of Portugal’s medieval castles, set as it is on an island in the middle of the River Tagus near where it is joined by its tributary, the River Zêzere.

History of Castelo de Almourol

Almourol Castle was built in the 12th century, on an islet in the middle of the Tagus River, as part of the defensive line held by the Knights Templar during the Portuguese Reconquista.

Although the site of Almourol Castle had been used as a fortification since at least Roman times the castle that stands today was primarily built under the Knights Templar, who began construction in 1171 AD. Subsequent excavations at the site have found evidence of this earlier Roman occupation, including the foundations of the Roman structure built here.

After the dissolution of the Templar Order in 1312 AD the castle was largely abandoned, particularly as the military situation in the area had changed meaning Almourol Castle was no longer of crucial strategic importance.

It was not until the Romanticist movement of the 19th century gathered pace that the castle became the subject of scrutiny once again, and it was largely restored at this time. Further restoration work took place in the mid-20th century.

Castelo de Almourol today

Today the castle’s distinctive location and Templar architecture has led to Almourol becoming a popular attraction and a noted symbol of the Reconquest. Small wonder then that it’s one of our picks for Portugal’s top 10 visitor attractions.

Getting to Castelo de Almourol

Castle of Almourol sits atop the islet of Almourol in the middle of the Tagus River, located in the civil parish of Praia do Ribatejo, 4 kilometres from the municipal seat of Vila Nova da Barquinha, in Portugal’s Center Region. The address of the location is Ilhota do Rio Tejo Praia do Ribatejo, Vila Nova da Barquinha.

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