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Castro Verde

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Castro Verde
Ferreira do Alentejo
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Surrounded by vast plains, Castro Verde is a rural town in a region where sheep breeding and grazing are the main agricultural activities.

There is abundant proof that the zone was inhabited since Pre-historic and Roman times, and the town lies near the site where the legendary battle of Ourique was fought, in 1139, when Afonso Henriques defeated the Moors and declared himself the first king of Portugal.

The battle is recalled by the 18th-century tiles that decorate the Mother Church (also known as Royal Basilica), which equally exhibits rich golden woodwork and precious objects of religious art.

Other churches and chapels are worth visiting, as well as the traditional windmill at the main square, recently restored, and the Lamp Museum, displaying an important and diversified collection of Roman oil-lamps from the 1st century AD that were discovered in 1994 at the village of Santa Bárbara dos Padrões.

Castro Verde is also proud of its annual fair, always held on the 3rd Sunday of October, the most important of the district of Beja and famous for its rural character and ethnographic diversity.

Otherwise, the county offers visitors the opportunity of enjoying long walks or bicycle rides in a wonderful and peaceful natural scenery or participate in bird watching activities, organized by the Environmental Educational Centre of Vale Gonçalinho.

Regional food specializes in typical dishes of the Alentejo, often based on bread, aromatic herbs, olive oil and lamb, besides traditional cakes and sweets such as queijadas de requeijão (a sort of small cheese-cakes).

Handicrafts include typical woollen rugs, lace and pottery.

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