Hiking in Castelo Bom Village (Almeida)
In the early afternoon we arrived at Castelo Bom village by National Road number 16, the same one that in the opposite direction would take us to Vilar Formoso. We were close to the Spanish border and therefore the importance of this small village over the centuries in the history of the two neighboring countries. It’s so important that the village was considered county for more than 500 years. Its geographical situation allowed the control of the lands above the Côa river, which is a strategic point for the delimitation of the territory in the current region of “Beira Interior”.
The predominance of granite in most of the village’s buildings is noticeable upon our arrival. Walls with history line the road on a sidewalk that leads us to higher ground in the village.
The village houses mold themselves to the mountain, as if it always belonged to that place.
As in the vast majority of villages in Portugal, agriculture is now a complement to the meager retirement for many of those who still resist. They are therefore small gardens and fruit orchards that subsist to the time and along with some livestock activity give life to the lands surrounding the village.
The village houses mold themselves to the mountain, as if it always belonged to that place. (photo above). There are vestiges of other eras discovered in these lands and we still find in each corner testimonies of the past, like secular fountains, buildings of the 16th and 17th century, religious monuments, the cistern (“Poço d’El-Rei”), the ruins of the old wall and typical houses with porches, among others. And of course, the people. Yes, the people, our most precious asset. The stories they keep and the overwhelming desire to tell them. We met a resident who proudly introduced us to her beloved village, where she was born and always lived. And from there she won’t leave, she tells us.
In the viewpoints over the Côa valley we took a deep breath as we observed the curious geological formation called “Stone with Cover”. We continued through the cobbled streets to the “Porta da Vila” (Village Door), which along with the attached tower and some wall panels are the remaining vestiges of the medieval fence. Down by the Main Street we soon arrived to the point where we started the walk. We look back and think that it is almost incomprehensible how, with such richness and uniqueness, the village doesn’t integrate the network of Historical Villages of Portugal.
It was time to go to the next destination.
Points of Interest: Village, Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Chapel of Saint Martin, Medieval Wall, Viewpoints, “Stone with Cover”, Cistern (Poço d’El-Rei), Poço da Escada, Old House and Chain, “Casa Grande” or Church Square Manor, “Casa do Fidalgo” and Landscapes.
45melevation gain uphill
49melevation gain downhill
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