Fodor's Expert Review Castelo de Sortelha

Sortelha Castle/Palace/Chateau

Above the village are the ruins of a small yet imposing castelo. The present configuration dates back mainly to a late-12th-century reconstruction, done on Moorish foundations; further alterations were made in the 16th century. Note the Manueline coat of arms at the entrance. Wear sturdy shoes so that you can walk along the walls, taking in views of Spain to the east and the Serra da Estrela to the west. The three holes in the balcony projecting over the main entrance were used to pour boiling pitch on intruders. Just to the right of the north gate are two linear indentations in the stone wall. One is exactly a meter (roughly a yard) long, and the shorter of the two is a côvado (66 centimeters or 26 inches). In the Middle Ages, traveling cloth merchants used these markings to ensure an honest measure.

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Sortelha, Guarda  6320-536, Portugal

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