The Castle of Aljezur (PortugueseCastelo de Aljezur) is a medieval castle founded in the parish of Aljezur, in the municipality of the same name overlooking theAljezur River . Excavations in the castle have discovered that the location was occupied during the Bronze and Iron Ages, while the parade grounds, habitational structures, and two silos date to the 12th and 13th centuries.



The site of the castle was occupied, successively and uninterrupted by Lusitanians, who constructed a castro to oversee their lands, before being pushed aside by the Romans, who constructed a lookout.By the 7th-8th century, the Visigothsalso used the space as a sentry to safeguard their territory.

By the beginning of the 10th century, a small town was founded by Arabs, who reformulated their defences, constructing various dependencies within and outside the walls.[1][3][4] Of these constructions, only the cistern in the castle survives their period of occupation. The castle was part of the Moorish defensive line of Silves, during the Almohad Caliphate and era of the Iberian taifas.

In 1242 (or 1246), Aljezur was conquered by knights loyal to Paio Peres Correia. As legend suggests, the conquest of the castle aided by a Moorish woman, who betrayed her fellow countrymen and delivered the citadel into the hands of the knights The Lenda of Maira Aires, also suggests that the castle was taken by Paio Correia on 24 June, on the feast day of the village’s patron saint. Its occupation did not result in the partial or total destruction of the castle, although alterations to the fortress occurred in the first decades of its Christian occupation.

Following the 1267 Treaty of Badajoz, the castle and other fortresses along the Algarve were transferred into the dominion of the King Afonso III of Portugalby Alfonso X of Castile.[3] King Denis of Portugal issued a foral (charter) to the region of Aljezur on 12 November 1280, while staying in Estremoz. Thirty years later, the monarch bartered away the Castle of Aljezur and other lands for the town of Almada (1 December 1297).

In 1448, during a visitation by members of the Order of Santiago to the town of Aljezur, they referred to the castle being in a state of abandon, at the same time prohibiting the removal of rock and masonry from the site for other constructions.[1][3]Further, the report mentioned directions by the Order to reconstruct the walls and the cleaning of the cistern.

On 20 August 1504, King Manuel of Portugal reissued a foral from Lisbon, where he conferred the title of honrada(honoured) to the charter (seen as a way to attract new settlers to the region).

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake caused the destruction of all the homes in the town, and demolishing most of the castle, saving only the tribune and the Presbytery in the church.


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