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
What to do
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