Campo Maior Municipal Garden, Inland Portugal

Campo Maior, what to visit

Strolling through the interior of Portugal, in the deep Alentejo, we will discover what to see in Campo Maior and what to visit. The Open Museum, the old Lagar and the Coffee Museum are not to be missed. We discovered one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal and, therefore, here we share our discoveries.

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Campo Maior, one of the villages in the interior of Portugal, on the border between Portugal and Spain, was occupied by Celts, Romans, Moors and the passage of Napoleon's French troops.

In 1297, after the signing of the Treaty of Alcanises, Campo Maior became part of Portugal.

This Peace Treaty, celebrated between the kingdoms of Portugal and Castile definitively fixed the borders of Portugal and Castile.

The Treaty of Alcanises, signed by D. Dinis, King of Portugal and Fernando IV King of León and Castile and his mother, Maria de Molina, fixed the squares of Riba-Côa for Portugal, Olivenca, Campo Maior, Ouguela, Moura and Serpa, leaving Castile with Aroche, Aracena, Valencia, Ferrera, Esparregal and Ayamonte,

The Treaty also established the marriages of the future King of Portugal D. Afonso IV with D. Beatriz of Castile, sister of Fernando IV and also of Infanta D. Constança, daughter of D. Diniz, with the Castilian King D. Fernando IV.

The Treaty of Alcanises can be consulted at National Archives Torre do Tombo.

On the 16th of September 1732, during a violent storm, lightning struck the Castle, hitting the ammunition and gunpowder stores there. It was such a violent explosion that it practically destroyed the entire village of Campo Maior and killed a large part of the population.

It was D. João V who ordered the rebuilding of the Castle, which still exists, although at this moment it is almost destroyed, for having been abandoned and vandalized for several years.

The press reported in 2010 that 50 families lived next to the Castle when the monument partially collapsed.

In the main square, there was a remarkable statue of one of the great workers of the region's wealth, in the production and commercialization of coffee, Commander Rui Nabeiro.

Campo Maior what to visit - Statue of Comendador Rui Nabeiro
Campo Maior to visit – Statue of Comendador Rui Nabeiro

But Campo Maior has a lot to see and learn.

Our next stop was the Open Museum.

Open Museum of Campo Maior

As for what to see in Campo Maior, from the range of possible locations, this is one of the options that we should not miss.

It is an important Museum in one of the most beautiful villages of this interior Portugal and closely linked to the presence of Spain within walking distance and which aims to show the entire history of this area and its people, from prehistory to the present day.

Campo Maior Open Museum
Campo Maior Open Museum

One of the most interesting historical pieces on display in this Museum is the Medieval Throne with the arms of King D. Afonso V who visited Campo Maior and then designated it as “Campo de Flores”, certainly enchanted by the flowery beauty that still exists today. dazzles us.

Medieval Throne
Medieval Throne

The pilgrimage of São Mateus also has a prominent place here, illustrated with the straw car and pilgrimage costumes used by Campomaiorenes.

This traditional festival has its origins in the Feira de S. Mateus, in the XNUMXth century, and was later associated with a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Senhor Jesus da Piedade where, in ancient times, a miracle would have taken place, according to the Legend of the Just Lord of Pity (in Legends of Portugal by Gentil Marques).

This important pilgrimage coincides with the end of the agricultural year and pilgrims come to ask that the new agricultural year be a good year.

Pilgrimage of São Mateus
Pilgrimage of São Mateus

As a land of streak, in the past, Campo Maior had contraband as a means of sustenance for its people.

The figure of the smuggler is also alive in this Museum, for us to appreciate and imagine how difficult life was for those who tried their daily bread, transporting goods from one side of the border to the other, across the Caia River.

Makes us remember the tour of the Douro River which also crosses the border.

The smuggler
The smuggler

In the classroom, faithfully reproduced at the time, there is no lack of the “Letter of Insular Portugal and the Portuguese Colonial Empire”, through which many of the “Baby Boomers” studied.

We have already spoken of them during our journey through the land of legend and the giant waves of Nazaré, in the early days of surfing history in that village.

The classroom
The classroom

The interior of a room, where you can see the bed and toilets of the time.

Campo Maior what to visit Interior of a bedroom
Interior of a room

After the visit to the Open Museum, we crossed the street and entered the Lagar Museu do Palácio Visconde d'Olivã.

Lagar Museum at the Visconde d'Olivã Palace

Lagar Museum, kindness of the Municipality of Campo Maior
Lagar Museum, kindness of the Municipality of Campo Maior

We are now in a XNUMXth century Palace in Campo Maior, the Palácio do Visconde d'Olivã, surrounded by a garden that has a surprising beauty.

Belonging to this Palace, the olive press is very well preserved, keeping all the instruments and machinery from the beginning of the last century, used in the production of olive oil and which, in its time, had an intense activity dedicated to olive growing in the region.

Our visit was guided and accompanied with great professionalism and friendliness and we were informed of the entire production cycle of the excellent olive oil in this region.

Workers in the olive harvest, kindness of the Municipality of Campo Maior
Workers in the olive harvest, kindness of the Municipality of Campo Maior

In the end, we were presented with a tasting of olive oil and olives from this part of Portugal Interior.

Olive oil and olive tasting, courtesy of the Municipality of Campo Maior
Olive oil and olive tasting, courtesy of the Municipality of Campo Maior

One of the Most Beautiful Villages in Portugal

Leaving the Lagar Museum, we walked through the streets of Campo Maior, whose Municipal Garden, a very beautiful place, is very comforting and allows us to regain strength to continue our visit.

Campo Maior what to visit - Municipal Garden
Campo Maior what to visit – Municipal Garden

Finally, we visited the Coffee Museum, Coffee Science Centre, outside the town.

Coffee Science Center, Coffee Museum

Things to do in Campo Maior Coffee Museum, Coffee Science Center
Coffee Museum, Coffee Science Center

The Coffee Science Center is a work that continues the great industry that was established in Portugal around coffee, thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Commander Rui Nabeiro.

One of the villages that became strategic for Portugal.

Coffee grows in hot and humid climates, in Brazil, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor, to speak of some Portuguese-speaking countries.

In Portugal, research in this area is aimed at improving the various types of coffee and where, now, the best ways to combat pests and diseases that affect plantations are being investigated.

This is a modern center that combines the dissemination of knowledge with leisure, offering fun and interactive activities that excite children and adults alike, helping to promote the culture of coffee.

In particular, the interviews with former Portuguese and Spanish coffee smugglers who recount the experiences of those times in the first person are impressive. Something not to be missed at the Coffee Museum.

Finally, the history of coffee is definitely linked to our King D. João V, a great driver of this natural wealth, mainly from Brazil.

What to see and visit in Campo Maior - King D. João V of Portugal
What to see and visit in Campo Maior – King D. João V of Portugal

A short video of the entrance to the Coffee Science Center, in Campo Maior,

In addition, a video of our fields in Alentejo.

See also other features


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