Belmonte Jewish Quarter
This is the story of Manuel, the faithful squire of a knight from Belmonte. Together, they left their native city to fight the Moors in fierce battles, where they always demonstrated their courage. One day Manuel was captured by the Moors and taken to Algiers. He remained a slave there for many years, with a very cruel master who mistreated him, forcing him to very hard labour and shutting him in a trunk at night. He accepted his fate as penitence and dealt with his longing for home and family by dedicating himself to the hardest tasks. After many years, his master asked him the meaning of the word he heard Manuel repeat over and over: “esperança” (hope). Manuel told him it meant the wish to return to his home city and his faith in the Virgem da Esperança. The Moor replied that such faith was impossible and made his life even harder. According to the legend, the Virgin had pity on Manuel and the trunk in which Manuel slept rose up in the air and disappeared in the direction of the sea. On the same day, the people of Belmonte who were headed for mass at the Igreja de Santa Maria were surprised to see a trunk land next to the church and Manuel get out of it. The joy of the people was indescribable, and they decided to build another chapel on that spot, dedicating it to Our Lady of Hope.