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The county of Idanha-a-Nova lies in a region of the Beira Baixa of strong religious tradition, visible in the various feasts and popular festivals of which the most famous is that in honour of Our Lady of Almortão.

Idanha-a-Nova (the New) is a small town built on a slope dominating the vast plain which is known as the «Beira Baixa granary».

Its elder «sister», Idanha-a-Velha (the Old), is a modest village rising among olive groves but with an important historical past (it was inhabited from pre-Roman times) of which the cathedral and countless ruins bear witness, turning it into a live museum.

It is said to have been the birthplace of a Visigothic king, with its own bishops at the cathedral which was restored in the beginning of the 16th century but still preserves inscribed and sculpted Roman stones. It is worth admiring the Renaissance Mother Church, the 17th-century pillory and the ruined Templars Tower.

The county includes another historic «jewel», Monsanto, voted in 1938 the «most Portuguese village of Portugal». It deserves the title: perched on a granite hillside, the houses are squeezed between great boulders, with tiny gardens and vegetable-plots separated by stone walls and lanes blending into the grey rock.

The ruined castle was a Lusitanian castro (stronghold), later restored by the Romans, and suffered a long history of sieges and battles.

The village is extremely well preserved and there visitors can taste regional dishes such as broad bean and coriander soup or rabbit with rice.

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