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Estremoz



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Rising on a hilltop, Estremoz is surrounded by two sets of fortified walls: the first was built in the 13th century around the medieval upper town and a second line of fortified ramparts was constructed to protect the lower zone during the War of Restoration against Spain (1640-48).

The ancient upper town is dominated by the keep, known as Tower of the Three Crowns, rising to 27 metres and made of marble, the «white gold» of Alentejo, used for construction since Roman times.

Together with the adjoining royal palace at the castle (now a luxurious pousada), it was built by King Dinis when he became engaged to Isabel of Aragon, and it was at one of the rooms that the queen died in 1336; this was later transformed into the Chapel of the Saintly Queen, decorated with tiles portraying her life.

Estremoz has many other sites of interest, such as the Convent and Church of Saint Francis (14th-18th centuries), the 16th-century Church of Saint Mary or the ancient Town Hall, among other monuments, as well as the Praça Dom José I square, with a sculpted fountain at the centre of the grand Gadanha Lake.

The old town is an enchanting place with its narrow and winding streets lined by whitewashed houses with a great variety of typical chimneys. However, Estremoz's «drawing-room» is the great main square known as Rossio, where an animated rural market is held weekly and the Municipal Museum displays interesting collections.

One of its main attractions is the famous red clay pottery of Estremoz, richly decorated with patterns or floral motifs. Besides being traditionally used for jars that keep the water cool, it has also been employed to create the typical bonecos of Estremoz, little painted figurines representing an enormous variety of characters, from religious images to quaint shepherds, peasant women, soldiers...

At table, the county offers typical dishes of the Alentejo region, such as ensopado de borrego (young lam with bread and gravy) or pézinhos de coentrada (pig's trotters in coriander sauce).

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