Published on April 6, 2014
A village from the country‟s remote inner border. Marialva, Portugal
Marialva is a portuguese historic village in the northeastern region of Mêda. Founded as a primitive castro ( hill fortification) by the Aravaros, one of various pre-roman tribes of indo- european origin who mixed with celtic people in the iberian peninsula, the settlement was later called Civitas Aravorum in Roman era. It was certainly rebuilt under Adrian e Trajan rule, and became a crossroads point in the main Via Imperialis , the roman road from Guarda to Numão.
Aravor means „hill‟ in the celtic language. Marialva was than “The town on a hill”. It developped as a strategic stronghold and an important medieval market town, having its golden years during the 12th-13th centuries; for that contributed the arrival of jew families who established their residence and developped trade.
Population: ~ 250 Coordinates: 40 54' N, 7 14' W PORTUGAL SPAIN
The old Citadel inside the walls is clearly apart from the outside medieval urban area – the Arrabalde Walled Citadel Arrabalde
1. The old walled citadel of Marialva Castle and Wall 1. Door (Anjo da Guarda) 2. Door (Monte ou Porta da Forca) 3. Door (Santa Maria) 4. Wicket door 5. Watch Tower 6. Tower (Monte) 7. Tower (Relação) Citadel 8. Fence 9. Donjon tower 10. Water tank (Cisterna) 11. Citadel Door 12. Wicket door Buildings 13. Townhall, Court and Jail 14. Water tank (Cistern) 15. Pillory 16, 17 - Churches
The castle, on top of a cliff, still dominates the landscape. It has the characteristics of a Romanesque castle with its donjon isolated in the center of a relatively small courtyard.
The broad castle walls in granite masonry enclose the medieval urb in an irregular oval form, adapted to the ground configuration.
The Citadel consists of the Watchtower, three defensive towers, and a civil and urban core in which there are two distinct poles: - the Government, which includes the Pillory and the former Town Hall, the Court and the Jail - and the religious pole comprising two churches and a cemetery.
The stone pillory on steps, probably the best ex-libris of the historic village. Closeby, the Cistern (Water tank) and in the background the ruins of an old Templar church.
Within the old inner town, the streets are irregular and bordered by empty spaces that were originally occupied by households.
There are two small churches and a chapel inside the walled village.
The 18th century chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The Manuelin door of the parish Church of Santiago.
The Mercy Chapel (Capela da Misericórdia) in mannerist style, with an external pulpit on an elegant façade. (17th century)
Inside, a richly decorated coffered ceiling.
The slender and mysterious Bell Tower of a former Templar Church
2. O Arrabalde (13th. century) Arrabalde is a word of arabic origin meanig “suburb” or “proximity”. Those streets were built when the village expanded outside the castle walls, when the Arabs occupied the village, and then after their expulsion under the rule of the first portuguese kings.
In Largo do Cruzeiro (Cross Place) , near the tourist Office, the 15th century Stone Cross on a curved-stairs pedestal, and a 16th-century Cistern (well) for water supply to the population.
Largo do Cruzeiro, the village center
The Main Street: Rua da Corredoura
Here took place medieval games involving equestrian rush races.
The narrow street displays the contrast between the white painted houses and the grey stone in walls and fences, while small doors are aligned along the white façades
The street preserves the autenticity of the XVI century buildings, normally two- storey houses with outside staircase and balcony.
The manor house of the Marquess of Marialva (17th century)
Church of St. Peter (São Pedro) 16-17th century
Still on this street, the Church of St. Peter, of Romanesque origin, that presents an outdoor pulpit, a side yard with anthropomorphic graves. Inside, an altar in carved wood and some matted mural paintings.
A typical village house of this region: Stone (granite) staircase up to the entrance door, in first floor, with a small balcony; at ground floor, the cattle stables and/or space for grain and wood storing . The granite bench down by the street is a peculiar charm. To see the world pasting by…
The popular architecture of these houses is sometimes surprising. This one is an evolutionary example: the original stairs and upstair door were removed; a relatively large window replaces the door, and a new entrance in a side building with a roofed balcony gives a more refined look, and also extra storing space in the ground floor.
Alleys and corners
Marialva is surrounded by hills covered with olive trees. No wonder this beautiful tree is also present almost everywhere in town.
Casas do Côro Tourism and Restoration
Many of the old houses in Marialva have been carefully recovered under dedicated projects for high standard tourist accomodation.
Medieval market, each year in June.
Sources: Photos and text excerpts from http://www.trekearth.com http://www.pbase.com http://www.panoramio.com/ http://www.flickr.com/ http://www.portugalnotavel.com/aldeia-historica-de-marialva-meda and from my own visits to the village of Marialva. Selection and slideshow © Mario Ricca , 2014
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