Historical heritage of Torres Vedras - Granfondo Torres Vedras Montejunto

September 05, 2021
Granfondo Torres Vedras Montejunto
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September 05, 2021
Granfondo Torres Vedras
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Castro do Zambujal is one of the most complex prehistoric fortified villages in the Iberian Peninsula. It is located about three kilometers southwest of the city of Torres Vedras and was discovered by Leonel Trindade in 1938.

The agricultural couple, whose existence dates back to the 16th century, destroyed part of the walls, and the stones served for its construction. Excavations carried out in recent years by the German Archaeological Institute have made it possible to reconstruct part of the fortification and differentiate the multiple stages of construction.

The Chalcolithic settlement attests to the profound socioeconomic transformations that occurred during this period. At first the settlement would be protected only by a central fortress with massive towers and relatively narrow walls. In a second phase of the occupation, the structures were reinforced, rising two more imposing lines of walls and a barbican attached to the initial fortress. In the third phase of construction, the barbican and the entrances of the second line of walls were mitigated, with a tendency to make the defensive logistics of each wall autonomous. In the fourth and last phase of construction, the hollow towers were erected. The town was abandoned about 1700 years A.C..

The inhabitants of Castro do Zambujal were engaged in activities related to copper prospecting, mining and metallurgy, maintaining trade relations, both in and outside the peninsular territory, between the late and mid-third millennium BC. In addition to these materials, they were found exemplary examples of daily activities, especially decorated ceramics, strongly represented here, belonging to the bell-shaped group.

The date of construction of the original building of the Paços do Concelho is unknown. It is first mentioned in 1337 and restored in 1597 and 1634. In 1744, it suffered major damage when an inmate attempting to escape from the prison on the lower floor set fire to the building. The fire destroyed almost all the medieval and modern documentation of the municipality.

The modern configuration of the building will have resulted from the restoration work completed in 1776, a date that also marks the construction of the fountain located in the square.

Headquarters of the administrative services of the Council, was also used during the military occupation of the city of Torres Vedras in the period of the Peninsular War, having served as headquarters of the commissariat of war.

The Pombalino-style fountain, unique in Torres Vedras, has the following inscription:


[The Corregedor da Comarca erected this fountain at public expense in 1776 for the convenience of the jail and the people, reigning D. José I, Father of the Fatherland]

Once the water was brought in by a branch from the Canning Fountain aqueduct, running from the spout protruding from the dolphin's mouth into a small marble tank.

In 2001, archaeological excavations inside the building revealed nine Muslim silos, the first material traces of the Arab occupation of the region, containing numerous Islamic ceramic containers, dating from the Caliphate period of the Cordoba (10th and 11th centuries), along with parts of the early years of the Christian occupation and 12th to 15th century coins.

Situated in the old town, the historic center of Torres Vedras dates back to times before nationality. Its constitution includes the neighborhoods of the old medieval fence of the village, which does not exist today. At its summit is the Castle, where you can still see the existence of Roman mortars in some cisterns.

Built and rebuilt over time, in this perimeter we can distinguish buildings of remarkable simplicity, with emphasis on the Pombaline period. In its squares and churchyard, it is worth mentioning grandiose constructions such as the Town Hall, the Fountain of Canos, the Church of S. Pedro, the Church of Santiago or the Chapel of Mercy. Inside the castle you can admire the oldest matrix of Torres Vedras, the Church of Santa Maria.

The castle is of primitive construction, proven by the existence of two Roman cisterns, and its first walls were built by the Arabs.

By the time of the Christian reconquest and the consequent seizure of the Castle in 1148, the walls were destroyed and immediately rebuilt to prevent the Arabs from entering during the siege of 1184. Also the Church of Santa Maria, located within the belt of wall, is of the beginning of the Nationality.

The castle undergoes successive interventions in medieval and modern times, especially in the reigns of D. Dinis, D. Fernando and D. Manuel. What remains of the last intervention is the coat of arms of D. Manuel I, flanked by the Manueline armillary spheres, with the Cross of Christ.

With the 1755 earthquake, both the walls and the Palace of the Mayors were greatly destroyed.

The Castle would once again play an important role in 1809, when it was integrated into the Torres Vedras Lines, as a redoubt. In this adaptation was demolished the castle door.

The last siege of the Castle took place at the end of 1846, having served as a barracks for Count Bonfim's troops. The fortress was bombed by the Duke of Saldanha, and the explosion of the storeroom caused the almost complete ruin of the Palace.

Despite its ruined state, the Castle continued to function as a barracks of regular troops until the late nineteenth century, having been the subject of several repairs.

In 1929, the War Ministry assigned the property to the City Council, which is in charge of conservation and cleaning.

It is a monument classified by Decree No. 41 191, DG, I Series, No. 162, 18-07-1957.

Located in the urban perimeter of Torres Vedras, this utilitarian work of Gothic architecture extends over two kilometers and was built to supply the Canos Fountain, located in the historic center of the city. The date of primitive construction is unknown, but the current structure of the pipes was remodeled and expanded in the second half of the 16th century, when D. Sebastião granted permission to the local authority to extend its structure. This remodeling coincided with the restoration of the Fountain of the Pipes in 1561 (parchment belonging to the Church of St. Peter), by order of Infanta D. Maria.

Starting at the exit of Torres Vedras and crossing the Sizandro River, the Aqueduct features a large structure whose channels, when they surface, are arranged in two overlapping arches of perfect back. The upper arch has smaller dimensions, symmetrically arranged over the lower arches.

Where the Aqueduct passes over the Sizandro River and over the road that connects Torres Vedras to Runa, it has only one monumental arch. .

It underwent several reconstruction and restoration works, notably in the 18th century and, more recently, in 1990.

From the coat of arms of the village only remains a piece of the upper part of the ornament.

It is classified by Decree of 16-06-1910; Government Gazette No. 136 of 23-06-1910.

Built at the end of the 15th century and classified as a building of public interest in 1997 by IPPAR, Azenha de Santa Cruz is today an Interpretive Center linked to the theme of cereal milling and bread making. As a cultural space that promotes traditions and the dissemination of popular memory and culture, this nucleus brings together, in addition to an allusive collection, a set of exhibition panels and the projection of films and photographs from times past. Mandatory stopping point, this space also serves as a welcoming space for the visitor, simultaneously functioning as a Tourist Office.


Situated in the urban perimeter of Torres Vedras, the existence of the fountain is referred to in the fourteenth century. It was fed by the aqueduct and is located near one of the gates of the medieval village (Porta da Corredoura).

The fountain is a pavilion covered with ribbed cross vaults that rest on conical corbels.

From the faces of the pavilion there are five arches and the interesting set of Gothic gargoyles that decorate it and the set of four shields arranged on the faces of the columns: “those in the front bearing the royal coat of arms dating back to the 13th century. in all probability the reign of D. Afonso III, and the two sides of the same time, representing in three castles of severe lines, sober of atavios, the old coat of arms of the old Turribus Veteribus. ”

To round off the set, 16th century coruchéus and mermiaschanfradas (Merlões). The interior space consists of a tank with two baroque spouts (with vegetal motifs).

In the past, along the entire length of the front and on the lower level, there was a spacious tank made for the enjoyment of the waters, which served to supply the departing and arriving as well as for the use of animals.

It is classified by Decree of 16-06-1910; Government Gazette No. 136 of 23-06-1910.

In order to defend the country from the third Napoleonic invasion (1810), Wellington's strategy consisted of building an entrenched field between the Tagus and the Atlantic that defended the peninsula of Lisbon by land, taking advantage of the rugged characteristics of the territory. The land border squares would have a retarding function in order to allow more time for the organization of the Lisbon defense work. The main objective was to keep the capital free of the French troops - not only for the strategic value of its port but also for security reasons because, in case of military failure, the British troops would be taken on board. São Julião da Barra.

On October 20, 1809, Wellington wrote the famous memo with instructions to be followed by the British Army's engineering commander - Lieutenant Colonel Fletcher - in the construction of the defense works. Thus, a military system based on four lines of defense, two main and two complementary, was conceived.

Construction work began in the fall of 1809, and within a period of less than a year 126 fortifications, military roads, and other natural barriers were built.

The city of Torres Vedras is located at the most advanced point of the 1st line, located about 13 kilometers north of the 2nd line. The 1st Line was 46 kilometers long, connecting Alhandra to the mouth of the Sizandro River. In order to reinforce the elevated positions, devices were prepared to flood the lands near the Tagus and Sizandro Valley to make it difficult to cross as well as progress by road.

The improvement of the Lisbon Defense Lines continued until 1812, as Napoleon's new assault was expected, which did not happen. 152 military works were built, including strongholds and batteries, 37 of which in Torres Vedras, equipped with 523 hydrants. The S. Vicente Fort, together with the Olheiros Reduct, which defends its western flank, is one of the main defensive points of the Torres Vedras Lines.

See more information on the Tower Line Historic Route website or read the Tower Line Historic Route Guide.

Located north of Torres Vedras, São Vicente Fort is part of the fortified set of Torres Vedras Lines, the ring of defense of Lisbon against the French invasions.

In the early nineteenth century Napoleon Bonaparte came into conflict with England and invaded several European countries, trying to impose a continental blockade with which he intended to isolate and paralyze the enemy. Portugal, which has always been an ally of England, challenged the blockade. As a result, French troops invaded Portugal and the royal family left for Brazil, under the guidance of Englishman Arthur Wellesley, who was provisionally governed.

Inspired by the works of José Maria das Neves, Arthur Wellesley sent, on October 20, 1809, a Memorandum to Richard Fletcher, secretly building a set of fortifications consisting of three lines with a total of 152 strongholds and 600 artillery pieces and a communications system with signal stations.

It is in the first line that integrates the Fort of São Vicente that comprises a set of three strongholds (20,21 and 22), surrounded by a wall with about 1500 meters long. It was one of the most fortified points of the "Torres Vedras Lines", contained 39 hydrants and a capacity of 2,200 men and, together with the Castle, which contained 11 hydrants, constituted the two strongholds of the village.

It is a monument classified by Decree No. 47 508; DG, I Series, No. 20, of 24-01-1967 ZEP and Ordinance No. 715/77, DR, I Series, No. 268, of 19-11-1977 - Special Protection Zone (ZEP) joint of the Chapel and Fort of St. Vincent and the Chapel of Our Lady of Ameal.

Olheiros Fort (also known as Canudo Fort) is bordering the vast fortified complex of São Vicente, considered the most important fort of the Torres Vedras Lines. It was fortification 23 and the northernmost point of the first line of defense, between Alhandra and Foz do Sizandro. The plant is irregular polygonal, 45 meters long and 19 meters wide, very similar (despite its smaller size) to Reduto nº 14, or Forte Grande do Sobral.

It features a well-marked deep stone-lined moat over which there is a walkway giving access to the interior of the fort. The fortification is surrounded by a 1,500-meter perimeter wall, with a well-maintained 2-meter-high stone masonry escarpment and a protective barrier at the entrance. Eleven gunboats are counted in the curtains, with platforms for artillery pieces paved by pendant slabs to counteract the reaction of the shot; would serve seven cannons or artillery pieces, five nine-caliber and six six-caliber. There is also a storeroom, covered by reinforced concrete slab applied on an unknown date. The fort, like the other fortifications of the Lines, was disarmed and abandoned in 1818, three years after the Vienna Convention.

In the enclosure are also two cisterns, recently built by the Municipality of Torres Vedras, which supply the surroundings.

It is classified by Ordinance No. 1156/2009; DR, 2nd Series, No. 212, of 2-11-2009.
Granfondo Torres Vedras Montejunto
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