Viana do Alentejo

The attractive castle at Viana do Alentejo—with its rough stone walls, brick battlements, and round turrets—was constructed in 1313 to the very specific orders of Portuguese king Dom Dinis. He decreed that the pentagonal walls should be tall enough that a horseman with a lance measuring 9 côvados (an ancient unit of measure equal to 66 centimeters [26 inches]) couldn't injure anyone on the battlements. The fortified parish church within the walls of the castle—designed by the famous Diogo de Arruda—has a pleasing combination of battlements, spires, and ornate Manueline elements. Below the castle a delightful Renaissance fountain enhances the town square. Viana do Alentejo is also noted for a primitive-style pottery, sold in several small shops in town.

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