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Castelo de Vide


Situated 17 km from Portalegre, the regional capital of Nord-Alentejo, and lying in the Sao Mamede Natural Park, Castelo de Vide is a town of 4,200 inhabitants which reveals the cultural and religious diversity of the people who have successively occupied it. Built on a hillside, on its north-western side, it is dominated by its castle, built in the 12th century. A 17th and 18th century fortified wall protects the medieval part of town, with its maze of narrow streets lined with lime-washed houses which are decorated with beautiful Gothic door frames carved out of the granite.

On the western side of the town, the Judaria stretches from the gates of the castle to the Fonte da Vila, a magnificent 16th century marble wash-house/ fountain. This part of the town reveals the important presence, the role and the history of the Jewish community which gathered there following the expulsion of the Spanish Jews in 1492.

The local economy is based on agriculture and tourism. Castelo de Vide, a town of shelter and tolerance, lies on the European cultural itinerary, the Routes of Santiago de Compostella. It is a member of the Portuguese network of towns with historic centres.

Within the framework of its tourism development, the municipality of Castelo de Vide is busy creating a network of resource centres and museums.

A project involving the conversion of the old 17th century barracks which run along the northern rampart will allow for the creation of a local craft centre and will help to revive this interesting part of town which, at present, is almost completely abandoned.