The historical village of Castelo Rodrigo

By : January 5th, 2021 Places and Monuments 0 Comments

The Historical Village of Castelo Rodrigo preserves, until today, several references that take us back to medieval times. Traces are also found that attest to the presence of an important community of new Christians (Jews forced to convert)

From the top of a hill, the small village of Castelo Rodrigo dominates the plateau that extends to Spain, in the east, up to the deep Douro valley, in the north. According to tradition, Afonso IX de Leão founded it, to donate it to Count Rodrigo Gonzalez de Girón, who repopulated it and gave it its name. With the Alcanices Treaty, signed in 1297 by King D. Dinis, which defined the borders between Spain and Portugal, it passed to the Portuguese crown.

Castelo Rodrigo preserves the marks of some episodes of territorial dispute. The first took place less than a hundred years after its integration in Portugal, during the dynastic crisis of 1383-1385. D. Beatriz, the only daughter of D. Fernando de Portugal, was married to the king of Castile. Upon the death of his father, and with his accession to the throne, Portugal would lose its independence in favor of Castile. Castelo Rodrigo sided with D. Beatriz, but D. João, Mestre de Avis came to win the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota, in 1385 and for this feat he was crowned king of Portugal with the name of D. João I. As a reprisal for the lords of Castelo Rodrigo having taken sides with Castile, the new king ordered that the shield and arms of Portugal be represented in an inverted position on his coat of arms.

Later, XVI, when Filipe II of Spain annexed the Portuguese Crown, Governor Cristóvão de Mora became defender of the cause of Castile, coming to suffer the revenge of the population that set fire to the huge palace on December 10, 1640 as soon as news arrived there of the Restoration (occurred on the 1st of December), leaving this ancient history the ruins at the top of the hill, next to the castle.

Place of passage for pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela, the legends tell that St. Francis of Assisi himself would have spent the night here on his pilgrimage to the tomb of the Saint.

Being on the pilgrim route to Compostela, the Church of Nossa Senhora de Rocamador was built here, founded by a brotherhood of hospitable friars from France in the 13th century. With some changes of the 14th and 17th centuries, the coffered ceiling with baroque painting and a rococo altarpiece.

In this church is kept an image of Santiago Matamouro (Killer of the moors) and one of Saint Sebastian from the 14th century that, according to tradition, older and still unmarried women pray for luck in love.


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