Salt production here has nearly disappeared, but it was because of this mineral that Alcácer do Sal became one of Portugal's first inhabited sites. Parts of the castle foundations are around 5,000 years old. The Greeks were here, and later the Romans, who established the town of Salatia Urbs Imperatoria—a key intersection in their system of Lusitanian roads. During the Moorish occupation, under the name of Alcácer de Salatia, this became one of the most important Muslim strongholds in all of Iberia. In the 16th century Alcácer prospered as a major producer of salt, and a brisk trade was conducted with the northern European countries, which used it to preserve herring. The hilltop castle is the town's most prominent attraction. Red-tile-roof buildings descend from the castle to the riverbank in long horizontal rows.
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