ALENTEJO

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Rome in the Alentejo

In the Alentejo, you travel naturally with and to History. The abundance and the quality of the Heritage which it expresses become easy for you to discover but, if you are visiting the Region for the first time, you could be spoiled for choice. If this is the case, don’t hesitate: opt for our suggestions and you will discover that the magic of the Alentejo is to be found, with endless pleasure, everywhere.

Miróbriga was inhabited from at least the Iron Age until the 4th century AD and experienced its major development during the Roman period. In the highest part, the forum was built, in the centre of which the two temples are visible, eventually dedicated to the Imperial cult and to the cult of Venus. In one of the best-conserved parts of the complex, the baths are of particular note. Away from the centre is found the hippodrome, the only one of its kind known in Portugal. There is an information centre and a shop. Guided visits are available, with prior booking, for groups (minimum 5). There is an entrance charge.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9.00-12.30 and 14.00-17.30;   
Sundays: 9.00-12.00 and 14.00-17.00
Closed on Mondays and on the public holidays of 1st January, Easter Sunday, 1st May and 25th December.

The Roman period in the Alentejo began in the 2nd century BC and lasted until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century. From these times, and from their influence on later periods, there remain many memories: mining and agricultural exploitation carried out on great estates crowned by luxurious and richly decorated houses (the Roman villas); ceramics industries, salt mines, fish-salting and ship-building; fortresses, temples, bridges, paved roads and pathways, sanctuaries, theatres, dams, aqueducts; municipalities as the basis for the structure of local administration. And there remains with us, obviously, Latin as the mother tongue of the Portuguese.

The remains of this period can be visited in and from urban centres. Take a note and make these sites part of your itinerary.

On the Marvão – Alter do Chão – Monforte axis you should see the Civitas de Ammaia (S. Salvador de Aramenha, Marvão); the ponte (bridge) de Vila Formosa (road between Alter do Chão and Ponte de Sor); the villa at Torre de Palma (road between Monforte and Cabeço de Vide); and the Núcleo Museológico of the Igreja (church) da Madalena (Monforte).

In Évora, the Roman-Goth-Arab walls, the Roman temple, the Termas (baths) in the Paços do Concelho (Town Hall), the Arco(arch) de D. Isabel and the Casa de Burgos, all in the historical centre; outside the city, the Termas of the Roman Villa of Tourega (road from Évora to Alcaçovas).

Between Alvito, Vidigueira, Cuba and Beja, the bridge at Vila Ruiva (road between Vila Ruiva nd Albergaria dos Fusos) and the Roman villa of Cucufate and Casa do Arco (Vila de Frades).

In Beja, the Portas (gates) de Évora e de Avis the gigantic capitals next to the Regional Museum and the Núcleo Museológico Romano da Rua do Sembrano, where you will also find important vestiges of the Iron Age.Between Beja, Castro Verde and Mértola, the Roman villa of Pisões (road from Beja to Aljustrel, next to Penedo Gordo); the Museu da Lucerna (museum of Roman lamps) (Castro Verde); and the Núcleo Museológico Romano (Mértola).

On the coast, the Estação Arqueológica de Miróbriga (Santiago do Cacém) and the Cripta (crypt) Arqueológica do Castelo (Alcácer do Sal), situated under the former Aracoeli convent, today the Pousada D. Afonso II, where you can see ruins of dwellings from the Iron Age, the Roman and the Arab periods as well as an important Roman sanctuary dating from the 2nd Century AD.

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Alentejo Museum Guide
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