Thanks to its ﬁne collection of ruins, it has some of the country's most important archaeological sites. It stands in a place where a Roman city once lay, the capital of Civitas Igaeditanorum (1st century BC) and later the episcopal seat during occupation by the Suebi and Visigoths. It was occupied by Muslims in the 8th century and taken back by Christians in the 12th century. It was donated to the Knights Templar in the 13th century and still has traces of diﬀerent ages that attest to permanent occupation by various civilisations.
Our history your time
Idanha-a-Velha pequena aldeia de ambiente pitoresco, pelo notável conjunto de ruínas que conserva, ocupa um lugar de realce no contexto das estações arqueológicas do País. Ergue-se no espaço onde outrora existiu uma cidade de fundação romana (séc. I a.C.), inserida no território da Civitas Igaeditanorum, tendo sido, mais tarde, município romano. Uma inscrição datada do ano 16 a.C., onde consta que Quintus Tallius, cidadão da Emerita Augusta (Mérida) "deu de boa vontade um relógio aos Igeditanos", testemunha a existência no núcleo urbano nesse momento cronológico. Em 105, a povoação aparece referida numa inscrição da monumental ponte de Alcântara, importante obra de engenharia romana, como um dos municípios que contribuíram para a sua construção.
Diversos vestígios evidenciam, ainda hoje, essa permanência civilizacional: entre outros, o podium de um templo no qual assenta a Torre dos Templários; a Porta Norte e respetiva muralha; um conjunto excecional de inscrições de diversas tipologias e variado espólio disperso. A povoação conheceu no período visigótico, sob o nome da Egitânia, momentos áureos de desenvolvimento, tendo sido sede de diocese desde 599 e centro de cunhagem de moeda em ouro (trientes). São testemunhos materiais desse período, o Baptistério e ruínas anexas do "Palácio dos Bispos" e a designada "Sé Catedral", esta com profundas alterações arquitetónicas posteriores.
Os Árabes ocuparam a cidade até à sua tomada por D. Afonso III, Rei de Leão, durante a reconquista, fazia já parte integrante do Condado Portucalense aquando da fundação de Portugal. Mais tarde D. Afonso Henriques entregou-a aos Templários. Em 1229 D. Sancho II deu-lhe foral. D. Dinis incluiu-a na Ordem de Cristo (1319), seguindo-se outras tentativas de repovoamento. D. Manuel I, em 1510, institui-lhe novo foral de que o Pelourinho ainda é testemunho. Em 1762 figurava como vila, na comarca de Castelo Branco; em 1811, ficava anexa a Idanha-a-Nova; em 1821 tornava-se sede de um pequeno concelho, extinto em 1836.
Intencionalmente, e ao longo dos séculos, pretendeu-se reorganizar todo o espaço urbano, revitalizando-o no domínio social, económico, político e cultural. Porém o seu percurso histórico, de desertificação, estava traçado. Hoje, Idanha-a-Velha, (Monumento Nacional) surge renovada. Uma Aldeia Histórica criteriosamente adaptada para os que aqui residem e para os que a visitam.
What to see
The Roman epigraphic collection in Idanha-a-Velha is one of the largest and most representative in Portugal. It was compiled during different phases of archaeological investigation in the village. It is located in the grounds of the old olive press in the south-eastern part of the village and was set up to show the collection, which before was at Santa Maria Church or the Cathedral. The new museum project made it possible to study and publish this important collection and organise the exhibition Verba Volant, Scripta Manent (words fly but writing endures). Eighty-six of the 210 pieces are on display, harmonising traditional exhibition techniques with multimedia technology. Scientific accuracy made it necessary to offer effective access to the contents to a wide audience and so an interactive exhibition was designed where technology helps to contextualise and interpret the pieces. This project encourages the use of local heritage through scientific research, preservation of archaeological finds and the use of new technology to meet the needs of qualified tourism for the location.
In the mid-6th century, the old Roman town, under the dominion of the Suebi, thereafter called Egitânia, was raised to an episcopate, which continued with the Visigoth annexation. The baptismal pool, found north of the Santa Maria Church, may belong to that remote period. Previously, another baptismal pool had been found on the opposite end of the church. This baptistry – in the early Church , the term was used both for the pool as well as for the structure that housed it – of a more complex typology, cruciform, is also more recent, although it has not been assigned a precise date. However, both are liturgically close and functionally identical: a small pool with steps; one would enter on the western end and after dipping three times – symbolising the purification ritual of immersion – leave using the opposite side. Research in recent years has concluded that this baptistry does not have any architectural ties to the building that became Santa Maria Church, traditionally identified as a Visigoth cathedral.
Big House (Marrocos Family Manor)
The house was built in the 20th century, built by the main family of local rural landowners. The project was added onto the previous home, influencing the new layout. Eclectic in style, but in line with the “smooth Portuguese” taste, its designer is unknown. It is known, primarily, for its carefully crafted construction, especially for the artistic ashlar stonework. The work was suspended in the 50s and the interior remained unfinished. The house is part of a large closed block, which includes an area for farm work. In a third area, there are facilities for domestic animals. The Big House, though it appears to be isolated, is surrounded by other agricultural installations, forming the centre of the work on the family farmstead, the fields of which surround Idanha-a-Velha.
Where to eat
Casa da Velha Fonte
Helana – Restaurante
Located in the old part of Idanha-a-Nova, in the former soft drink factory Refrigerantes Raiana from the 1950s, we find this elegant place where comfort and wellbeing have not been forgotten. With carefully selected, preferably local ingredients, the cuisine intensifies the idea of gourmet culture, though pizzas and pastas also feature largely. Start by reading a cookery book and enjoy the reading corner so that you can combine theory and practice.
What to do
Beira’s border (raia beirã) hides a living treasure with the present offering the future. Pathways to take drawn by history and traditions. Legends and moments saved in the lives and memories of its people, flavours that endure and renew themselves. There is so much to discover in Idanha- a- Nova. That is why we are committed to create moments and experiences so that this treasure can be shared, so that those who visit us, or are here can connect to this historic, ethnographic, gastronomic and natural treasure. We are committed to keep and protect this living heritage to bring together past and present and, through our Educational Service, call upon young people to build the future of this treasure. We are an agent of promotion of the region, an ambassador of Idanha-a-Nova; we connect the local community and visitors, individuals and institutions to local values being faithful to the cultural offer of the region. We offer a connection with the culture of Idanha-a-Nova. Open to the past, present and future of this region, We are Porta Raiana.
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.
Beltour – Turismo e Eventos
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.