Because of the need to modernise its outdated medieval structures, after the Restoration (1641) Almeida set about building a new war infrastructure that was suited to the new artillery and would enable it to control the border. The stronghold is hexagonal in shape and consists of six bulwarks, each with its own ravelin. The town within the walls still has a substantial number of military buildings and very interesting civil architecture.
Our history your time
Almeida terá tido origem na migração dos habitantes de um castro lusitano, localizado a Norte do lugar do Enxido da Sarça, ocupado em 61 a.C. pelos Romanos, e depois pelos povos bárbaros. Dada a sua situação em planalto, os Árabes chamaram-na Al-Mêda (a Mesa), Talmeyda ou Almeydan, tendo construído um pequeno Castelo (séc. VIII- IX).
No período da Reconquista, os Cristãos tomaram-na definitivamente em 1190 e foi sucessivamente disputada a Leão, passando à posse portuguesa com o Tratado de Alcanizes em 1297.
Recebeu foral de D. Dinis (1296), que reconstruiu o Castelo, e foral novo de D. Manuel (1510). Junto ao Castelo de planta retangular e quatro torres circulares, cresceu o núcleo medieval limitado pelas muralhas, cujo vestígio se vê na Porta do Sol, traçado que a Rua dos Combatentes acompanha e que define o velho burgo. No Castelo havia a primitiva Igreja Matriz.
A explosão do Revelim do Paiol, em 1810, motivada pelas invasões francesas, arrasou grande parte da vila, sendo esta igreja transferida para a do Convento de N. Sra. do Loreto - que apresenta um portal barroco - tomando o nome de N. Sra. das Candeias, cuja procissão se realiza a 2 de Fevereiro. A religiosidade popular está também assinalada nos passos da via-sacra.
A importância desta praça defensiva levou à expansão urbana e institucional sendo dignos de nota os edifícios do antigo Quartel de Artilharia, Vedoria, Tribunal, bem como a Igreja e Hospital da Misericórdia, de portal clórico - exemplos da arquitetura seiscentista.
A sua qualidade de praça-forte marcou também o próprio urbanismo, com quarteirões destinados a alojar os militares, como o caso do antigo quartel de Cavalaria. De realçar, o Quartel das Esquadras, edificado em 1762/69 (em frente do qual se fazia a parada militar, zona hoje ajardinada), e a célebre Casa da Roda - instituição criada por Pina Manique em 1783, para recolhimento das crianças expostas. No lugar da Roda encontra-se uma janela.
A Praça Forte de Almeida (séc. XVII/XVIII), perfeito exemplar da arquitetura militar barroca, é uma fortaleza abaluartada com traçado hexagonal em estrela, ao estilo do engenheiro francês Antoine Deville. O acesso faz-se pelas portas duplas em túnel abobadado. Dispõe de seis baluartes, com suas casamatas - galerias subterrâneas onde a população se recolhia em caso de perigo e que também serviram de prisões miguelistas - e revelins, com fossos de profundidade média de 12 m, onde se construiu também um Hospital de Sangue, e se localiza o Museu Militar.
Durante a Guerra dos Sete Anos (1756-1763) Almeida voltou à posse de Espanha, tendo retomado ao domínio Português em 1763.
Nas lutas liberais tomou partido por D. Miguel entre 1829 e 1832, acabando por capitular após duras lutas fratricidas, que de novo destruíram as muralhas - reconstruídas a partir de 1853. Em 1927 saiu de Almeida o último Esquadrão de Cavalaria perdendo, desde então, a atividade militar que, durante séculos, foi a razão essencial da sua existência.
What to see
House with coat of arms, António Pereira Fontão Júnior
The building called the Large House is a quite extensive. Its unity is sustained by the repetition of standardised doorways with no sign of which was actually the main door. Features surrounded by stonework give it a note of decorative elegance. It used to belong to António Pereira Fontão Júnior, a rich merchant from the town.
Casa da Roda dos Expostos
The Casas da Roda dos Expostos were introduced in the 19th century and played an important social role in taking in abandoned children. It is strategically positioned in Rua da Muralha, near a postern, a small rectangular house (originally two-storeyed) bearing the date 1843 on its façade.
House of Field Marshall Manuel Leitão de Carvalho / Leitões Palace
In Rua Combatentes Mortos pela Pátria is the House of Marechal Leitão de Carvalho, also known as Leitões Palace. The building's design is that of civil residential architecture with a regular layout. It was built in the 17th century and shows signs of being worked on in the early 18th century. It has two doors on the ground floor and two windows on the upper floor on each side of the family’s coat of arms decorated with baroque ornamentation.
Where to eat
Located in the heart of the village, the restaurant offers a cosy and friendly environment and traditional food. Inside you will find a variety of cod recipes, including cod au gratin, "hunter's" cod (to order) and grilled cod. The octopus is exquisite; one of the most popular and appreciated dishes. As for the meat: lamb chops, roast kid (to order and seasonal), steak and veal chop. Dessert: sweet rice, floating island, creme brule, egg pudding, and much more. Home-made cake as well. The reference "Biscuit and cream mousse". Enjoy the food with wine and cheese from the region, and pumpkin jam.
Colmeal Countryside Hotel
Hidden in Serra da Marofa, in Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, the Colmeal Countryside Hotel is much more than a 4-star hotel: it is the perfect retreat to find the silence, the hospitality and the delights of Beirã gastronomy, in a historic village surrounded by nature. Rebuilt in line with the local heritage by the architect Pedro Brígida, Colmeal has 11 rooms and 3 country houses, a relaxing SPA and an outdoor pool with water from the mountains that surround the 700 hectares of the farm. At the restaurant, you can also taste the best regional products recreated in recipes with the signature of Chef Vítor Sobral, accompanied by the unique aromas of Silêncio, white or red wine, produced locally. On foot or by bicycle, Colmeal invites you to walk the old paths of the shepherds and discover the history of the village, the landscape of the mountains, the flight of birds, the rock paintings, the streams and, above all, the silence nature's infinite. Through visits organized by the region, we can take you to discover the rock engravings of Foz Côa, take a boat trip through the Douro International, visit the Faia Brava reserve, walk through Riba Côa, watch the water birds in the Santa Maria de Aguiar dam or visit the historic village of Castelo Rodrigo, one of the 7 wonders of Portugal. Whether private or business, make an appointment with the silence of this refuge and ask us for information so that we can make your stay a unique experience. At Colmeal Countryside Hotel you will find all the serenity you need to disconnect from the world. And connect more and more with yourself.
Casa do Ti Messias
Your house in the Historical Village of Almeida. Located in the historic center of Almeida, inside a military fortress. The house has three stories, as is tradition in Almeida: on the ground floor, a room with a stove and television and a fully equipped kitchen; the first floor, a double room with a private bathroom; the second floor, a double room with a private bathroom; and on the third, a spacious terrace with a view of the village and its surroundings. With all the comfort of the 21st century but in an ambiance that brings back memories of a time when simpler things were appreciated more. Every decorative detail was covered with the same care as someone decorating their own home, substantiating the benefits of a circular economy in the various decorative elements, by reusing materials and giving new life to forgotten objects. The freedom when you arrive at Almeida, get your key and become Almeidense!
What to do
Solar São João Casa Memória Almeida
TRY PORTUGAL – Adventure, Nature & Culture
TRY PORTUGAL promotes personalized programs and experiences of active and cultural tourism, exploring the Natural, Historical and Cultural heritage of the country. All programs in autonomy or with guides are created to guarantee experiences of gastronomy & wines, culture & traditions. We highlight the interior regions that are still unknown to most travelers, through thematic vacation programs, the provision of tourist services, and the organization of sports & cultural events. Services: Thematic tours, active tourism programs, guided tours, organization of cultural and sporting events. Our tours are designed to include one or more of the following activities that are available in the region: Walking & Hiking - Mountain & Road Cycling - Water trails activities - Air activities- Horseback Riding – Rock Climbing – Wellness & Yoga Retreats - Ecotourism - Geo-tourism - Cultural & Historical Tourism - Creative Residences - Impact Tourism & Volunteering COME TRY PORTUGAL!
Adventure and nature trips
We are a registered tour operating company and we base our activity on the values of legal compliance, nature protection and sustainability. We operate according to the Portuguese legislation and we hold a special accreditation from the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests allowing us to drive inside Nature Parks and other protected areas (where permitted)- We are members of the Natural.pt brand (www.natural.pt), reserved for companies who adhere to the programme. Following the recent pandemic we got our Clean & Safe seal from the Tourism Authority signifying our compliance with the official health requirements for the prevention and control of infections. Our trips are much more than just going from A to B and we distinguish ourselves for having a higher purpose: the knowledge and promotion of the historical, cultural and environmental heritage of Portugal, so that in the end our guests will have lots of stories to tell. In each new journey through some of the most beautiful and remotest places in mainland Portugal, we discover a unique, authentic and truly surprising country with a sense of adventure and discovery that enriches us as human beings. Our offer is based on a personalised service with tailor-made trips meeting the personal interests of our guests. We are constantly exploring and spending countless days on the ground in contact with the local people and organisations in search for the best places of interest and the best routes. As a result of this research, we have acquired a deep knowledge of the whole country which allows us to give our guests a renewed level of novelty and differentiation in each event. During our events we privilege the contact with nature in a legal and responsible manner, with the aim to reduce the impact of our passage, by working with official entities and other environmental organisations. Every year we plant many autoctonous trees in an effort to make Dream Overland a carbon-neutral company, an action that our customers can support and partake in. With our trips we contribute to the social cohesion and economic sustainability of local communities, through the knowledge and promotion of their traditions, handicrafts, produce and local heritage.
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Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking
Powered since 2006 by your passion for travel, Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking was created to offer you authentic experiences and unforgettable memories in the most exclusive places in Portugal, taking you to the most historic places and wild landscapes. The perfect example of this is our holidays in the Historical Villages. Each one more surprising than the one before, prepare to cross mesmerizing landscapes, going through some of the most impressive Portuguese natural regions like the Côa Valley, with their cave paintings, the Estrela Mountain Range, with the highest peak in continental Portugal, or Faia Brava, the first private conservation area in Portugal. And at the end of each day, explore another village, each with a different story to discover, between castles and walls, between taverns and gourmet restaurants, between centuries-old traditions and the latest inspirations. Dare yourself to wear the shoes of the great conquerors who fought for the oldest European border while restoring your body and mind with pure air and breathtaking views.