The Praça-Forte de Valença is the ideal spot to immerse into the medieval history of this city. Raid its historical centre and imagine you’re a conqueror who, riding his horse, breaks into one of the city’s gates, crosses the moat and rises his victorious sword!
In fact, this beautiful walled city was an important stronghold, built under the Vauban system, with its characteristic double pentagonal shape. It used to be an important bastion of the Portuguese nationality, several times assaulted by the neighboring Spain. Before that, in the Middle Ages, it was an important stopover during pilgrimages towards Santiago de Compostela. Close your eyes for a moment… can you imagine the passing by pilgrims, holding their staffs and singing joyful chants?
Wandering around the intramural area, you’ll notice several monuments, some of them religious, such as the Igreja da Colegiada de Santo Estêvão, the Igreja da Misericórdia or the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria dos Anjos. Pay also attention to the Capela Militar do Bom Jesus, the Palácio do Governador Militar, the Capela do Senhor do Encontro, the Paiol de Marte, the Paiol do Açougue and the Fonte da Vila.
Take your time to explore this majestic fortress, one of the most important military fortifications in Europe, with a walled perimeter of more than two miles! Feel the aura of medieval times among dozens of lookouts, at the bulwarks extremities, that housed the sentinels at times of war. During your visit, you won’t possibly miss noticing the constant presence of our Spanish neighbors wandering around the many shops. Join them and, who knows, you’ll also get home with some sort of souvenir…