Portugal and Idanha -a-Velha a small village with the very big history

March 18, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Situated a few miles from the fortified village of Monsanto (which is visible) I have visited it three times in recent years but up until now I haven’t included any images of it on my website. This I have now remedied with a gallery in my Portuguese collection devoted to the village. Roman BridgeRoman Bridge

The last recorded population for the village and surrounding area is 79. At its peak it boasted thousands. So what’s the story.

Its origins can be traced back to the 1st century AD ( one of the oldest villages in Portugal) when it was called Igaeditânia a major Roman City. The walls of some of the houses still there have some of the original stones in them. The village is also guarded in part of by the original walls and the bridge over the River Ponsul still has its Roman bridge that is used to this day.

After the Romans it became the Visigoth city of Egitânia with its own cathedral (Ŝe). It was the first Visigoth Cathedral on the Iberian Peninsula. Today’s ‘cathedral’ is built upon the ruins of its 4th century original. The village claims to the birth place of King Roderick and that the remains of King Wamba (620-680AD) are buried there.

During the moorish period the cathedral was transformed into a Mosque, evidence of which can still be seen.

It was during the early 15th century that the city was overrun by a plague of rates that forced the inhabitants to move out. Since then the population has never recovered.

It is so peaceful that on some days it is rare to see any of the villagers although the small cafe is a lovely meeting place.

There is one other aspect to the village and that is the wild life around it. While the gallery only depicts the storks that nest there I have taken other images of butterflies and they appear in the Flora and Fauna Gallery

If you have the chance take a look and enjoy its history and tranquility.

 


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