Castelo de Vide - History The Romans first settled here in 44 BC being an important point in the road from Merida in Spain across to the west coast. The Vandals conquered and destroyed the town in the 4th Century. It was later rebuilt by the Moors in the 7th Century until 1148 when it was taken by forces led by Gonçalo Mousinho who then became its governor. The town's first Royal Charter was issued in 1180 and unlike other places it was required to organize its own defences and in return the young men of the town were not by law automatically obliged to be soldiers. It is unknown when Vide as it was originally known was first fortified. On the orders of Dom Dinis the castle was rebuilt in 1310 and its name was prefixed by the word Castelo. When Afonso IV ascended to the throne he gave the town to his younger brother. This same brother later laid claim to the throne and an imminent battle for the castle was only avoided by the clever intervention of the ambassadors sent by the future to be Queen of Portugal, Dona Isabel de Aragon. Its protection and close border location was to attract many Jews from Spain during 1492 that escaped from the severe persecution handed out by the Catholic Church. In 1704 the Spanish attempted unsuccessfully to capture the castle but later fell to the attack of the Duke of Berwick who threatened to put all in the town to the sword. The defending Portuguese then placed all their gunpowder for protection in a well but a year later an explosion of this powder destroyed a great part of its fortifications. When they proceeded to rebuilt and extend the walls they included the houses that had grown up around the castle in the outer walls.
Castelo de Vide - Description It is a most attractive small Spa Town with lots of fascinating architectural character. Sitting on the northern edge of the Serra de São Mamede it is a popular place for passing tourists due to its natural welcoming charm and the claimed healing powers of its Spa waters. Within the castle walls there stands the 17th Century Capela de Nossa Senhora da Alegria that also contains attractive tiles of the same period. The old part of Castelo de Vide has lots of character with small typical houses of the region lining the steep very narrow cobbled streets. This is the Judiaria Quarter and on the corner of one of these streets there still stands a 13th Century synagogue. Many of these modest homes together with the grander houses have door and window surrounds artistically worked in the local granite. The church of Salvador do Mundo is also from the 13th Century but it underwent some interior changes in the 18th Century amongst which is the addition of some attractive tiles.