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Arriving in Reguengos of Monsaraz we face immediately its magnificent architectural complex protected by a medieval wall built during the reigns of Afonso III and D. Dinis (XIII century).
This wall embraces several monuments, including the Main Church of Our Lady of the Lake, the Church of Misericórdia of Monsaraz, the Paços da Audiência, the Church of Santiago and all the houses.
Its occupation dates from prehistoric times, with several hundred archaeological sites of the Paleolithic, Neolithic (megalithic), Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron. The primitive human occupation of Monsaraz, probably a fortified hill fort, was later Romanized and successively occupied by Visigoths, Arabs, Mozarabs and Jews.
In the VIII century, Monsaraz would fall under the domain of Islam during the Muslim invasions which occupied much of the Iberian Peninsula. The process of Christian reconquest reaches Monsaraz in 1167, in an expedition departing from Évora and led by Geraldo Sem Pavor. The reconquest of Monsaraz lasts a few years, since in 1173 it falls back under the domain of the Almohad Caliphate, after the Portuguese defeat in Badajoz.
Only later, in 1232, D. Sancho II, with the help of the Knights Templar, is able to definitely integrate Reguengos of Monsaraz under Christian domain, making his donation to the Order of the Temple. The municipality is conspicuously agricultural with the main economic activities being wine-growing, olive oil production and a strong rural tourism component. Today Reguengos is the unequivocal capital of Alentejo wine.
Reguengos sites on the Alqueva Lake dam reservoir, with its 250 km2 , 83 km long and more than 1,100 km of riverbanks It is the largest artificial lake in Europe. The Great Lake, besides having one of the most powerful hydroelectric production plants in Portugal, is a strategic reservoir of water, essential to the region. the riverside villages. Along the paths of the County it’s possible to observe the native fauna and flora or go hiking through paths prepared for such purpose.
The County of Reguengos de Monsaraz is witness to the ancient human interest for the region. From dolmens to cromlechs, without forgetting the menhirs (isolated and in group), the County is the privileged heir of over 150 archaeological finds left by our prehistoric ancestors, who lived here over 6000 years ago..
The gradual human settling to earth imposed the need to raise great blocks of carved granite, whose primary purposes were related to the demarcation of the land and, above all, to the practice of fertility cults and cults to the unknown, which resulted in atmospheric phenomena. This close relationship between the menhirs, the landscape and the first demonstrations of faith and belief in some higher power by prehistoric man reveals a framework of the Old/Middle Neolithic.
These lands, which were once some of the most densely populated in prehistoric times, promise a unique 10 experience for lovers of this ancient art.
A perfect combined visitation with Evora.