Óbidos, Portugal 9/13

October 13, 2013

First occupied by the Romans but abandoned in the 5th century, in 713 the Moors established a fortification on this mountain. In 1148, Obidos was retaken by the first King of Portugal, Alfonso Henriques, and it was one of the last battles in the final stage of the conquest of the Extremadura region.

In 1210, King Afonso II gave the title of this village to Queen Urraca. Since then, Óbidos has often been patronized by the Queens of Portugal, giving rise to its informal title as Vila das Rainhas, (Town of the Queens). The Church of Santa Maria was the setting for the wedding of King Afonso V to his cousin, Princess Isabella of Coimbra, on 15 August 1441, when they were both still children aged 9 and 10, respectively.

Being an extremely popular tourist attraction with busloads of tours arriving from Lisbon, we had little hope of finding a parking place. To the contrary, the city had actually designated a large RV area a short walk from town. Parking was free during the day but cost 6 Euros for the night.

While the picturesque town had its points of interest with its beautiful fortress walls, there were so many tourists and souvenir shops it kind of distracted from the historic atmosphere. We strolled around in the early evening hours and explored the alleys off the main drag, but the whole town felt like it was a museum with no one actually living there. Maybe we are just getting a little tired of old castles…..

The classic fortress walls of the Obidos castle begged to be explored.

The classic fortress walls of the Óbidos castle begged to be explored.

Wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets in the evening, we wondered if anyone really lived here.

Wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets in the evening, we wondered if anyone really lived here.

Obidos 03

Obidos 04

Gift shops and street stands took away much of the historic atmosphere.

Gift shops and street stands took away much of the historic atmosphere.

The clop clop of horses’ hooves may have added to the medieval feeling of this walled town.

The clop clop of horses’ hooves may have added to the medieval feeling of this walled town.

St. Mary's church was erected in 1149 during the reign of King Afonso Henrique.

St. Mary’s church was erected in 1149 during the reign of King Afonso Henrique.

The Almshouse Church with its beautiful altar was built in the 16th century.

The Almshouse Church with its beautiful altar was built in the 16th century.

We spent a quiet night behind this nearly abandoned baroque church of St. Peter in the valley below Óbidos.

We spent a quiet night behind this nearly abandoned baroque church of St. Peter in the valley below Óbidos.

 

Leave a Comment




Answer this (to show you're not a robot) *