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Vila Nova da Barquinha



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Vila Nova da Barquinha
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The county's main attraction is undoubtedly the enchanting Almourol Castle, rising on a tiny island in the river Tagus.

It was built on the site of a Roman fortress by the first grand-master of the Order of the Templars, Gualdim Pais, in 1171.

The ruins of the island-fortress of Almourol, with the graceful silhouette of the castle's walls reflected in the river waters, have given birth to many legends and tales of mystery.

The main source of these is a 16th-century verse novel called Palmeirim of England, by Francisco de Morais, which speaks of giants and knights and of how the crusader Palmeirim fought for the lovely Polinarda.

The Templars' fortress, with its ramparts and nine towers, was never taken by any invading force.

Another reminder of the Order's important presence in the region is the ruined castle of the first leader of these monks and knights, at Praia do Ribatejo.

Also in the county, there are interesting churches at Tancos and at Atalaia.

Otherwise, the region is marked by the flow of the great river Tagus, sometimes calm and bucolic and others treacherous foi its sudden floods.

Vila Nova da Barquinha used to be an important fluvial port, controlling the trade of wood, salt and olive oil, before the railroad arrived.

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