Évora and Reguengos de Monsaraz one day
Wine tourism tour in Alentejo, South of Portugal, with wine tasting, snack and lunch, that takes us to the historic center of Évora (1), UNESCO World Heritage Site (134 kms from Lisbon), with stops in several important monuments such as the Roman Temple and the Chapel of Bones. Then we go to Monsaraz (2), surrounded medieval town, where we´ll have lunch with a magnificent view of the Great Lake Alqueva (172 kms from Lisbon) and make a toast with wine DOC Reguengos, to follow the traditional Alentejo gastronomy. After knowing this village, we´ll go to Saint Pedro do Corval village (3), the place with the highest concentration of potters throughout the country (35), to see a traditional workshop of potter. After that, we make a stop to observe the Menhir of Valentine´s Rock and listen the story of his funny pagan cult of fertility. Before returning to Lisbon, we go to a producing wine cellar of Reguengos de Monsaraz (4), European Capital of Wine 2015 , to a wine tasting and visit the winery.
1. After about an hour and a half drive from Lisbon, where you can see a typical Mediterranean landscape with predominantly pine trees, cork oaks and olive trees, we arrive at Évora, with a historical center surrounded by walls. Inside we visit the Roman Temple (I century) dedicated to the Emperor Augustus, the Cathedral of Évora (Gothic building, century XIII-XIV), the Church of San Francisco (Gothic, Mudejar and Manueline, century. XV-XVI ) and the Chapel of Bones (century XVI-XVII, decorated with human bones). Along the way you can enjoy other monuments and important places of the city, like the Aqueduct of Silver Water (century XVI), the University (century XIV), the Palace of Cadaval Dukes, Giraldo Square and the outer wall.
2. After lunch in Monsaraz, medieval village built on an ancient fort from the Bronze and Iron Age, went up to his castle founded by King Afonso III in the XIII century, from where it enjoys a magnificent view of the Great Lake Alqueva. Located on the top of a hill, the castle had the sentinel function over the Guadiana river and the neighboring kingdom of Castile. Former Templar village, Monsaraz always played an important strategic role, first against the Moors and then against the Spaniards, and its walls were reinforced in the Restoration War (1640-1668) to resist the Castilian artillery fire. Throughout history, however, this village was taken several times by enemies. We´ll walk through the old streets while enjoyed the typical architecture of the village, with the use of various types of stone from the region: basalt, slate, granite and marble from Estremoz. We´ll take a look o the old medieval cis´tern water storage and get into the Church of Santa Maria da Lagoa (XVI century), built on a Renaissance temple. Here we can ee the gilded altars and the gothic tomb of the first mayor of the town, a Knight Templar of the thirteenth century, Gomes Martins, represented in a beautiful statue.
3. Back on the road, we stopped at a traditional pottery of S. Pedro do Corval, where you can purchase a typical Alentejo recall, made in clay molded by hand. Then we passed the Menhir of Valentine's Rock, which is associated with a pagan ritual of fertility - according to local tradition, on Monday after Easter, the flirtatious girls should throw a stone to menhir; if there be, means marriage within a year, but if the stone falls, means another year of waiting.
4. Before returning to Lisbon, we´ll go to a typical cellar of Reguengos de Monsaraz, European Capital of Wine, for a visit and wine tasting. This region is known for having a unique wine preservation order in the country, in large clay containers, “talhas”, stored below ground level. That´s because this nectar is given the name of "vinho de takha” (“hoist wine"). The winery José de Sousa produces “vinho de talha” and other wine since 1878, maintaining a tradition started by the Romans with more than two thousand years. It also has two treading mills, still using various traditional winemaking techniques, as in the case of Ripanço wine, on wich the grape clusters are manipulated by hand. At the same time, the winery has modern stainless steel vats and wooden barrels for fermentation and wine aging. At the museum area is exposed a menhir with thousands of years.