Man has constantly occupied the land that now types the municipality of Alcacer do Sal for much more than 5,000 years.
Throughout the Iron Age, its people have been in speak to with these who sailed the Mediterranean, and it was know at the time as Eviom: Roman occupation confirmed its financial and political significance, and it was granted permission to mint its personal coin, rights equal to those of the cities of Ancient Latium, identified as Salatia Urbs Imperatoria.
Following the decline of the Roman Empire, it became a Visigothic Episcopal city and then a single of the most effective Moorish strongholds of the Iberian Peninsula. King Afonso Henriques (Afonso I) was profitable in taking the city in 1158, but the Moors occupied it after once more in 1191.
It was taken for the final tin1e by the Christians only in 1217, and was granted a charter by King Afonso II in 1218. It was in this town that, in 1495, D. Manuel learned of the death of his cousin, King Joao II and of his acclamation as king of Portugal.
Here, too, he celebrated his marriage to the princess Maria of Castile at the church of the Espirito Santo. In 1516, King Manuel confirmed the ancient charter. Alcacer had its share of illustrious young children, such as Pedro Nunes, mathematician and astronomer (16th century) and Bemardim Ribeiro, the writer born in the town of Torrao (15th century).
In 1833, Alcacer witnessed 1 of the numerous battles amongst the Liberals and the Absolutist faction of King Miguel. Following the lower of the importance of the salterns, Alcacer do Sal is now engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry, with distinct emphasis on the production of rice, cork and pine kernels.
The nevertheless imposing walls of its castle constitute a lasting symbol of the traditional financial and political value of Alcacer do Sal. The bellic fame of this fortification dates from extended ago. It is believed to have withstood an assault in 966 by the significantly-feared Viking fleet.
A Moorish bastion considering that the 7th century, it was conquered with no little difficulty, by king Afonso Henriques in 1158, and it was the stage for successive fighting in between Christians and Moors until 1217, when its was put under tbe authority of the Portuguese crown once and for all.
Within its walls, one can admire interesting traces of the various eras and occupants. The D. Afonso II Pousada is positioned right here.
The municipality of Alcacer do Sal is a place of wide horizons. Both on the river and on the plain, a far more careful gaze will reveal one more dimension. White villages are scattered through- out the landscape, supplying a view of a various way of living.
The Pego do Altar and Vale de Gaio dams provide the pleasure of water and of the blue vastness. A go to to Comporta reveals the hyperlink between the Alentejo and the sea, along an Atlantic front that stretches out along tens of kilometres, awaiting discovery.
Alcacer do Sal is also a single of the “ports of contact” of the Lands of the Enchanted Moor itinerary-exhibition that addresses Islamic art from those locations where there are nonetheless traces of this fundamental period of our past.
This initiative brings Alcacer do Sa1 into the international partnership that is organising the Museum with out Frontiers – Islamic Art in the Mediterranean project.
From a hill in the Sado Estuary All-natural Reserve there is an excellent view more than the river, Troia, Setubal, the Arrabida Hills and Cavalo Island. Archaeological traces from the Roman era can also be observed.
CARRASQUEIRA This village is also located within the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve and is inhabited by fisher folk. A rather curious palafilte fishing harbour, offering a good view over the mudflats of the estuary.
COMPORTA BEACH A single of the outstanding bathing spots in the region, this magnificent beach gives a lengthy stretch of white sand giving on to the clear waters of the Atlantic.
PROTECTED NATURE THE SADO ESTUARY Organic RESERVE
With its calm lagoons, the blue of the river and the green of the pines, this charming organic reserve covers an location of 23,160 hectares. It is truly worthy of long, enriching walks.
Consisting mostly of wetlands, with their channels, inlets and marshes, the Reserve also has banks intriguing for their biological wealth and for the diversity of their animal life.
Porpoise, otter, badger and fox fall beneath the gaze of the visitors in competition with about one hundred species of birds, of which the white storks, the marsh harriers, the herons and the flamingos are outstanding for their elegance.
The fertility and richness of the region covered by the Reserve have warranted its occupation by mankind considering that the Neolithic.
Individuals essentially living off fishing and gathering shellfish settled right here some 5,000 years ago, setting up villages on spits of sand then nonetheless bathed by the Atlantic.
There are traces of Roman presence that can nevertheless be admired at the Pinheiro Estate, for example, where kilns can be found that had been employed by a massive pottery market that prospered here among the 1st and 4th centuries of our era.
Trips along the calm waters of the Sado by balloon or by boat are an admirable way to view this natural sanctuary.
THE HORSES AND THE BULLS
Horses and bulls have extended been linked to the area of Alcacer do Sal, and bull- breeding has a long tradition in the municipality.
A single of the great names of Portuguese bullfighting, Joao Branco Nuncio, had his estate right here. In the course of the October Feira Nova (New Fair), an annual event of popular tradition dating back to the 14th century, and throughout PIMEL bullfights are organised, involving key names in bullfighting and bull-breeding, attended by a massive number of fans.
Oases of freshness, the Pego do Altar and Vale de Gaio dams are properly suited to various water sports -angling, sailing and windsurf – as properly as to active or “adventure” tourism.
The Vale de Gaio dam also supplies exceptional facilities at its Pousada, a magnificent place to rest and to devote a few days discovering the beauty spots of the municipality.
ARCHITECTURE THE BLUE AND THE WHITE
Serene and of an elegance made of simplicity, Alentejan architecture sits nicely with the wide horizons of the plains to which it belongs.
Here the living white of the whitewash dominates ones gaze and reflects the bright light of the sun, interrupted only by the discrete blue of the door and window surrounds and by the sudden verticality of its chimneys.
Every little thing in these houses, with their pure lines, tells us of an ancient harmony amongst the plain, man and the clean light of the sun. Glittering white amid wheat fields, cork oaks and orange trees, the villages of Santa Susana and Torrao are worth a go to, lovely proof of the art of living.
At Santa Susana take a look at the church with its paintings on wood, dating from the 1st half of the 16th century. At Torrao, a typical Alentejan town, admire the white homes and the squares adorned with the enchantment of the orange trees.
See also the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucessos and the Parish Church, a national monument of Manueline style, with its 17th century tiles in the sanctuary. The Monte da Tumba archaeological remains from the Bronze Age constitute an exciting historic landmark.
VALE DE GAIO DAM
A fine spot for sailing, windsurfing and angling. Near the water is the splendid Pousada, an invitation to rest and to visit the region.
PEGO DO ALTAR DAM
An additional of the regions inviting dams. Amongst the woods and the blue sky, the mirrored surface of the water lends itself to the pleasures and challenges of water sports.
Common Alentejan town, with its white homes and squares filled with blossoming orange trees. Not to be missed, the Parish Church, a national monument and a exceptional Manueline temple, and, outdoors the town, the Senhora do Bom Sucesso Chapel, a fine example of well-known art.
A modest village of white houses standing out from the wheat fields and cork oaks. The church and its two magnificent 16th century paintings on wood are nicely worth a go to.
THE CITY OF ALCACER DO SAL
The history of Alcacer do Sal starts with the castles of Moorish origin, while its beauty stems from the river Sado that surrounds it, in whose waters the town has been reflected for over 5 thousand years.
The old medieva1 quarters and its age-polished sets lend antiquity to a town with its centuries-old streets that sometimes widen out into modest squares.
The homes, with their wrought-iron verandas, contribute to a basic impression of lacework. The riverside avenue enchants these that stroll along it, and the view from the ancient fortress more than the fenland is extremely restful.
The castle is now house to dozens of storks that gaze haughtily more than the flamingos and dolphins that are the masters of the estuary. The green of the rice fields and the storks perched on the bell-towers are characteristic images.
The Municipal Archaeological Museum homes an essential archaeological collection of articles from about the municipality. The things on show variety from the Mesolithic period to Portuguese pottery of the 17th and 18th centuries.
It has two nuclei: Nucleus 1 is to be identified at the Pousada, whilst Nucleus two is positioned at the Epirito Santo Church.