Area Guide

Beja Inland

A tranquil town teeming with history

Beja inland with its capital Beja city has about 34,000 inhabitants whereof about 21,000 lives in the city. It is an inexpensive town and if you are looking for a piece of real Portugal you may want to look for a property for sale in Beja. It has pretty much everything except a coast. It has an old town, cobbled streets, lovely surrounding and kind, welcoming locals. Beja has a violent history and it has been in many wars. During the times, it has been attacked and conquered by many different nations and the town have changed its name several times. Already inhabited in Celtic times, the town was later named Pax Julia by Julius Caesar. During the reign of emperor Augustus, the town was renamed Pax Augusta. When the Visigoths took over the region, the town was called Paca. The town fell to the invading Umayyad army in 713. Thus Paca, through Arabic Baja (Arabic: باجة‎), became Beja. After that the Christians and the Muslims fought each other hard to lay their hand on Beja. All these wars depopulated the city and it was left to crumble, and it was not until 1521 Beja regained its status of a city. However, it was again attacked and occupied by the Portuguese and the Spanish during the Portuguese Restoration War (1640-1667). In 1808 Napoleonic troops attacked the city and wiped out the population.

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All these wars have left cultural foot prints all over the town. The best views of the city and the surroundings, you will have from the top of the castle. While resting on Roman fortifications, the castle was rebuilt by king Dinis in 1310 and it has undergone alterations and improvements during the centuries. The most significant aspect of the castle is the impressive Torre de Menagem (donjon), now the symbol of the city of Beja. Moorish architecture is visible in the cobbled streets and houses of the old town. There are many quaint plazas and lovely little restaurants. It is notably romantic. Perhaps it has something to do with Beja being the place where Mariana Alcoforado (1640 – 1723) wrote her passionate love letters. Allegedly, she was a nun who saw a young officer only once from her window in 1641 and wrote him five passionate love letters. They were later translated into French and were published in Brussels in 1668 and became an instant success. They were the reason for the term Portugaise becoming synonymous for “passionate love letter”. If you don’t mind being away from the coast, Beja might be a place for you to go looking for a property for sale in. But if you crave the ocean you better head off to Odemira located by the Atlantic Ocean.

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