Linhares da Beira
Linhares da Beira is a 12th century medieval village boasting unequalled architectural and artistic diversity, as a legacy from diﬀerent ages. It received its ﬁrst charter from King Afonso Henriques in 1169. It was only later in the reign of King Dinis that its imposing castle was built, the village's masterpiece and main attraction today. Wandering round the streets of this museum village is travelling back in time to its history and feeling the breeze from the Mondego Valley brushing your face.
Our history your time
Vila de fundação medieval, com foral concedido em 1169 por D. Afonso Henriques, que, em 1855 perde este estatuto com a reforma administrativa liberal. Apesar do local ter conhecido a fixação de povos pré-romanos e existir registo escrito da passagem de romanos, visigodos e muçulmanos, a história de Linhares, tem origem no contexto gerado com a reconquista Cristã. Estabilizadas as fronteiras do reino português, Linhares continuou a ter significado estratégico pelo menos até ao século XVII, pois fazia parte do sistema defensivo que guardava a Bacia do Mondego, na retaguarda das fortificações da raia beirã.
A estrutura de ocupação do espaço da antiga vila de Linhares conjuga assim um tipo característico de povoamento medieval (séculos XII-XIV), com desenvolvimentos significativos no período quinhentista (século XVI). Nesta centúria a vila terá atingido uma configuração próxima da atual, ainda que no património edificado pesem, pelo impacto no tecido urbano, algumas construções mais tardias (séculos XVII-XIX).
O castelo, implantado num cabeço rochoso a cerca de 820 m de altitude e dominando o Vale do Mondego, constitui o núcleo gerador do aglomerado. Na encosta, sobranceira à várzea de Linhares e cruzada por antiga via romana, estendeu-se a povoação: o sistema fortificado, entregue a um alcaide e dispondo de pequena guarnição militar, defendia um território bem como a sua população e bens; o foral, concedido pelo Rei, prescrevia a autonomia concelhia e organizava a vida económica e social do povoado; a Igreja estabeleceu as paróquias.
A vila descreve, no sopé do Castelo, um perímetro triangular, em cujos vértices se situam três espaços ordenadores da malha urbana: o Lg. da Misericórdia, à entrada da povoação; o Lg. de S. Pedro, na zona denominada “Cimo da Vila”; e o Lg. da Igreja, próximo do Castelo e no acesso ao Campo da Corredoura, terreno de usufruto comum. Estes largos definiram-se em torno de igrejas – hoje desaparecida a de S. Pedro – e constituíam o centro das paróquias de fundação medieval. Na base do triângulo e no ponto oposto à Matriz, localiza-se o Lg. do Pelourinho, outrora o centro cívico da Vila.
Da assistência ao peregrino, pobres e doentes sobra-nos o edifício do Lg. da Misericórdia, que acolheu duas instituições típicas da sociedade medieval e moderna – a Albergaria e o Hospital. Também do abastecimento de água, temos para observar três fontes dos séculos XII, XVI e XIX. Além da casa tradicional e popular disseminada por toda a vila, contam-se as casas nobres dos séculos XVIII-XIX, destacando-se janelas e portas decoradas ao gosto Manuelino (século XVI), quase sempre moradias de proprietários agrícolas mais abastados ou da burguesia local ligada ao comércio. Entre estes encontrava-se a comunidade judaica, minoria étnica e religiosa obrigada a viver apartada da comunidade cristã e cujo bairro – judiaria – se situava numa transversal à Rua Direita: sobre a porta de acesso ao bairro (Arco) figura uma das mais elaboradas janelas manuelinas de Linhares.
What to see
Former Town Hall and Prison
Two-storey building decorated with the coat of arms of Queen Maria (1777-1816) sits among other municipal constructions like the forum and pillory. In medieval times, it was a prison, as shown by th bars on the lower left window. This is a two-storey building. The ground floor opens into a hallway with two side rooms and there are two staircases to the upper floor. This floor has a great hall and two other rooms. It was once a school and teacher’s house and now houses Linhares Parish Council and contains some decorative pieces of historical interest.
This inn, later the Misericórdia hospital, is an important milestone in understanding medieval charity. It helped the poor, pilgrims, the sick and all passers-by or residents who needed shelter or care. We also know that King Sancho I left 100 maravedis to this inn in his will. The inn became the Misericórdia hospital and it has undergone many substantial alterations. The inn/hospital has two storeys with a full arch topped by a niche with an image of St Anthony. At the ends we can still see two gargoyles, one anthropomorphic and the other zoomorphic. Local tradition has it that they represent the devil and a goat. They gave rise to legends about D. Lôpa, said to be the owner of this house. She made a pact with the devil under the influence of a maid (as in the legend Dama do Pé de Cabra) or on her own initiative, but St Anthony interceded to save her.
Part of the Star Way, a Roman road between Mérida (Emerita Augusta) and Braga (Bracara Augusta), Estrada dos Almocreves reaches Linhares da Beira by the old primary school on the right. This road was part of the section between Mangualde and Linhares and then went on to Videmonte. It is paved with rectangular blocks of granite and is 4 metres wide, on average. It goes down to the Linhares Stream for about 1,300m.
It was part of the Beira defence system and was built at over 800 m above sea level on rocky, irregular terrain. It existed in the time of King Sancho I and was restored by King Dinis in 1291. It has two walled enclosures, two towers, four gates and two cisterns. It underwent restoration work in the 1940s. It is an imposing building belonging to the line of fortresses in Beira. This important defensive construction was started at the time of the founder of the dynasty to protect the eastern flank of the territory from possible enemy attacks. Other such castles include Marialva, Moreira de Rei, Trancoso and Celorico da Beira, among others. Linhares Castle, a National Monument since 1922, has a donjon and a clock tower. The inner circuit is divided into two enclosed areas. The larger west one may have been a support point for the donjon and was therefore a military area, where the cisterns are located. The eastern one served to protect the town’s inhabitants and their essential possessions in the event of a siege or attack. It has a long walled perimeter with battlements or uncovered patrol ways and access stairways.
Forum and Mergulho Fountain
This stone construction with the town’s coat of arms was a meeting place for the good men of Linhares, where administrative, legislative and judicial decisions were made, giving its governance an individual nature. At these meetings the officers and men of Linhares acted in accordance with the charter that Linhares had received. Its oldest charter was granted by King Afonso Henriques in 1169 and followed the lines of Salamanca charters. In the early 16th century, King Manuel reformed charters and Linhares received a new one in 1510. The meeting place, or forum, is a unique monument in Portugal. It is located in Largo do Pelourinho and is built of granite with three steps. Inside is a table surrounded by benches with the Linhares coat of arms behind. It was once closed in by a wooden wall covered by tiles to protect the men making decisions there. It is interesting to see that it sits on a spring with an ogival arch with a vault inside.
Where to eat
Casas do Durão
Casa Grande de Juncais
Casa Grande de Juncais is a granite manour of the 16th century, classified as building of public interest, with crest of the Barata Veloso family - it’s all-time owners - chapel, two inner courtyards and a garden with a fountain of pure spring water. It was the residence of D. Maria do Patrocínio Barata Veloso (daughter of António Veloso Aragão Costa e Abreu and Maria Benedita Vasconcellos e Sá), married to Jerónimo Frederico de Moraes Cerveira, great grandfathers of the present owner. Founding house of the village of Juncais, it occupies one entire side of the town square, where a fountain is still used by shepherds congregating from neighbouring streets. The square is the town's communitarian centre where everyday as well as on festivities its inhabitants meet. The townsfolk's quarrels were traditionally brokered by the owners of Casa Grande. The house enjoyed the privilege of asylum "nobody who took refuge there could be arrested". It became a guest house in 2005, with a decoration that blended harmoniously the pre-existing period furniture of the house, with pieces amassed during trips around the world, as well as design items and contemporary painting.
In the centre of the pretty medieval village of Linhares, whose charter was granted in 1169 by King Afonso Henriques, is Casa Pissarra. It is an old, traditional granite village house and has been restored and adapted to its new purpose. While preserving its original architecture, its owners added comfort and simplicity to make this old house an excellent tourist unit. Casa Pissarra is classified as a country house and its rooms have private bathrooms, heating and spacious, fully equipped kitchens.
INATEL Linhares da Beira Hotel Rural
Linhares, a historical village in Celorico da Beira, is a genuine outdoor open-air museum. In a mountain realm where granite is king, cut through by streams and channels of crystal clear water we find the impressive Solar de Linhares. It has 26 fully equipped rooms, bar, swimming pool, tennis court, meeting room and wi-fi. Private parking
What to do
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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.