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Castro Verde
Ferreira do Alentejo
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The Roman Mirtilis, Arab Mirtolah or Portuguese Mértola, overlooking the river Guadiana, is of great historical interest: in fact, this charming, whitewashed town is like a living museum with discoveries from different periods displayed in separate areas.

Mértola's origins date back to the Phoenicians, who created an important fluvial port, later enjoyed by the Romans and the Moors. Its many treasures can be seen at the Roman Nucleus, the Visigothic Nucleus and the Islamic Nucleus.

The importance of the Moorish domination is also visible at the Islamic Museum, which is the biggest of Europe to exhibit exclusively works of Islamic art.

The Moorish-style Mother Church, near the almost ruined hilltop castle (1292), is the most interesting monument, due to its unusual architecture, as it was formerly a mosque and kept many of its original characteristics.

The wild Guadiana valley has a rich and varied fauna (it is home to the black stork, foxes, boars, hares and partridges, among others), and has been designated a Natural Park.

Around 15 kilometres to the east of Mértola, the copper mines of São Domingos were once the main employer of the region, but the vein was exhausted by 1965 and it is now almost a ghost village, surrounded by a beautiful green scenery and with a small dam popular for fishing and leisure activities.

At Mértola, the local restaurants offer good Alentejo specialities and also abundant fresh fish from the Guadiana, such as eels, shad and mullet.

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