Aldeias Históricas de Portugal


Duarte d’Armas and his “debuxos” (drawings) Almeida



Almeida was a fundamental enclave in the defence of one of the oldest borders in the world, its Romanesque castle was built in the 12th century (Leonese Foundation) and was remodelled in the 14th century Remodelled by King "D.Dinis" (14th century), in this period a barbican with four semi-circular turrets was added to it, a feature easily recognisable in Duarte d'Armas' detailed drawing of 1508. Together with Valença and Elvas, Almeida was a powerful stronghold during the War of Restoration (1640-1668), the period to which its fortified system originates.

In 1695, a colossal storm blew up one of the towers, which served as an armoury, destroying the medieval wall. On 26 August 1810, during the French invasions, an enemy bombing raid on the armoury caused such destruction that the town was turned into a dreadful pile of rubble.

Not much is known about the life of the artist Duarte D’Armas, who was commissioned by the King D.Manuel I to draw the 51 fortress close on the border between the Kingdom of Portujgal and the future Kingdom of Spain, from Castro Marim to Caminha. The codex “Livro das Fortalezas” (Book of Fortress) is a unique work of its kind, portraying two views of each fortress, resulting in extensive freehand drawings and cavalry perspectives, with extraordinary details recorded between 1508 and 1510.