IDANHA-A-VELHA

Idanha-a-Velha LocationSuccessive settlements of the region by different peoples have left Idanha-a-Velha with a most valuable historical heritage.

Anyone visiting the modest village to be found here nowadays and observing its peaceful pace of life will have difficulty imagining that this was once the site of the ancient and prosperous Roman town of Civitas Igaeditanorum, which was situated on the great Iberian road linking Emerita (Mérida) to Braccara (Braga). At Egitânia, the Episcopal see in the time of the Visigoths (6-7th century), gold coins were minted for almost all the Visigothic kings, from Recaredo to Rodrigo; later on, the Muslim Idânia (8-12th century) grew to be a large and prosperous city, almost as rich as Lisbon.

After this, came the battles between Christians and Muslims in the first century of Portuguese nationhood, when D. Afonso Henriques gave the city to the Order of the Knights Templar in order for it to be repopulated. His son, D. Sancho I, gave Idanha its first charter in 1229, recognizing its strategic importance.

Over time, with a shift occurring in the major military and strategic axes, the city gradually diminished in size. Yet it has never lost its atmosphere from the past, seeming more like an open museum for the culturally-minded tourists, who will find here a system of signs clearly marking their itinerary.

 

 

CATHEDRAL

This church stands on the foundations of another early Christian church, built in the time of the Suevi and integrated into the kingdom of the Visigoths from 585 onwards. The baptistery close to the south door dates from the time of the Suevi, although the new basilica is the work of the Visigothic period.

Later, the mediaeval church was built on the site of this building, with some traces still being visible today, most particularly the Gothic door from the late 14th century with its simple pointed arch.

The interior of the church now houses the Museu Egitanense, a museum exhibiting a whole host of inscriptions that represent an important collection of epigraphs from the period of Roman domination in the Iberian Peninsula.

 

IDANHA-A-VELHA URBAN CIRCUIT

Urban Circuit

1. North Door - Porta Norte
2. See Cathedral - Sé Catedral
3. Oil press - Lagar de Varas
4. Roman dwelling - Ruinas romanas
5. Rocks to cross River Pônsul - Poldras sobre o Rio Pônsul
6. Tourist Office - Posto de Turismo
7. Pillory - Pelourinho
8. Mercy Church - Igreja da Misericórdia
9. Communitarian Oven - Forno comunitário
10. Templários Tower - Torre dos Templários
11. São Dâmaso Chapel - Capela de São Dâmaso
12. São Dâmaso straw Loves (Archeology Office) - Antigos Palheiros de São Dâmaso (Gabinete de Arqueologia)
13. Roman bridge - Ponte de origem romana
14. Holy Ghost Chapel - Capela do Espírito Santo
15. Roman Necrópoles - Necrópole romana
16. São Sebastião Chapel - Capela de São Sebastião