Moura is a Portuguese city of the central region of Alentejo. It was built strategically on a hilltop to defend it from the invaders who had to cross long wheat fields, olive groves and rivers before reaching the foot of the mountain where it was located.
On the way to Moura with my Ukrainian friend Max, we met João, a 30-year-old green-eyed Alentejan who picked us up when we were hitchhiking somewhere in the middle of the region. He took us to a very special place for him: Alqueva dam, a peaceful shelter to clear his mind while drinking a beer gazing at the sunset.
During the trip, we talked like childhood friends who haven’t seen each other for years, he told me about his life, some anecdotes and travel stories but also tales about Moura, his hometown.
According to legend, the major of ‘Maura’ was waiting for the committee of his future husband, the Prince of Aroche. On their way, the Muslim knights suffered an ambush led by Christian noblemen who wore their clothes and continued on the way to the castle. Salúquia, unaware of this, ordered the gates to be opened immediately. When she realized what had happened, it was too late. After taking the keys of the castle, she threw herself from a tower. The city was named Moura after her, and the coat of arms was modified to depict her tragic fate.
You can visit Salúquia’s Tower in Moura’s Castle, the symbol of the city. The 18th-century Spanish War of Succession and an earthquake destroyed an important part of the building, it is still well worth a visit. Below the castle, you will find the Jardim Dr Santiago, a perfect place to chill out after having a relaxing thermal bath or a dip in the municipal pool.
One of my favourite neighborhoods in the city is the mouraria, which is among the best-preserved Moorish quarters of the country. It is very easy to get lost in its narrow streets and you’ll love the whitewashed houses decorated with plants at their entrance and hanging flowerpots. Some of the houses also have typical Alentejan chimneys and water wells.
Description and images from Emerson Mendoza Ayala published in AWAYN’s website.
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