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Rising on a low hill on the left bank of the river Guadiana and surrounded by fields of olive, almond and fig trees, the small town of Mourão received its first charter in 1296, during the reign of King Dinis, who ordered the construction of a solid defensive castle with three towers, now partially in ruins.

The architectural patrimony of Mourão includes the beautiful Mother Church of Our Lady of Candles (17th and 18th centuries) in the Baroque style and with a single nave.

At another parish of the county, it is also worth admiring the Castle of Lousa, a Roman fortress from the 1st century BC overlooking the Guadiana.

The county is also rich in examples of popular Alentejo architecture, namely the small and rustic houses with tall and graceful chimneys of clear Moorish influence.

At about seven kilometres from the town of Mourão, the small Aldeia da Luz held no great attraction for visitors until a few years ago, when it was flooded by the waters of the great Alqueva Dam. To give its 350 residents a new home, the village was recreated about two kilometres away and includes copies of the houses, the church, the bullring and even the former football field.

Aldeia da Luz Museum opened later in order to preserve the memory of the lost village and displays archaeological finds discovered at the flooded zone, an audiovisual register and a recreation of workshops of former craftsmen.


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