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Montemor-o-Novo



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The town of Montemor-o-Novo was the birthplace of São João de Deus, born in 1495 and founder of the Order of Brothers Hospitallers, which since then has followed his example of caring for the sick and the poor.

His name was given to the central square where the 17th-century Mother Church rises, which preserves the font where the saint was baptized.

Otherwise, Montemor-o-Novo is one of the largest counties of Portugal, an important centre for the production of cork, grain, olive-oil, cattle and wines.

It was fortified by the Romans and Moors and reconquered by the Christians in the 13th century, but only ruins remain of its hilltop castle.

The Arab presence, namely of Al-Mansur, one of the last Iberian princes, is remembered in the name of the river Almançor, which crosses the county.

The former Convento de São Domingos now lodges the Archaeological Museum with local finds and also old agricultural implements. The town's public fountain, ressembling an altar, is equally worth admiring.

At Santiago do Escoural, the first cave with wall paintings discovered in Portugal (in 1963) exhibits Stone Age drawings and engravings.

The county of Montemor-o-Novo offers traditional crafts such as woven baskets and works in leather and hide, as well as a local speciality, licor de poejo, a liqueur of pennyroyal, a herb abundant in the zone and popular for flavouring food.

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