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Historical Villages

CASTELO NOVO

Orago: Nossa Senhora das Graças

Population: about 380

Economy
Agriculture: Castelo Novo is essentially a rural area. Agriculture used to be the region’s main economic activity and the main source of produce for the farmers and their families. A few family farms still operate, mainly to provide for the families’ own needs. Mixed farming systems have always prevailed. Potatoes, beans, corn and rye are commonly grown. Extensive olive and chestnut farms, as well as orchards, are also fairly common. Sheep, goats and cattle are predominantly raised.

Industry: A series of watermills and olive presses were built along the Gualdim and Alpreada streams, which run near Castelo Novo. These facilities were traditionally used to produce flour and olive oil. The remains of watermills, stone mills and olive presses can still be found in the area. Running near the village, the Alpreada stream allowed the textile industry to flourish during the 19th century. The old factory is now in ruins.
The “Alardo Water” spring can be found on the mountain slope, on the western border of the village. In 1921, Professor Charles Lepierre classified the water from this spring as radioactive and hyposaline. According to Ascensão Contreiras, ‘as it (Alardo water) contains minerals, it is useful in the treatment of kidney disorders, diabetes and liver disorders’ (in “Water Resources of Portugal”, 1951).
From this time onwards, people started travelling to the village to benefit from this wonderful water and a hotel was built to accommodate visitors.
In 1922, a local company was authorised to market Alardo water. Having subsequently fallen on hard times, the business was bought by the Sousa Cintra Group in 1997.

Feasts and Fairs
Saint Brás Feast (1st Sunday in February)
Our Lady of the Mountain Feast (Easter Monday)
Our Lady of Mercy Feast (1st weekend in September)
Saint Ana and Saint Joaquim Feast (September)

Cultural Heritage and Historical Buildings

The Castle: It is not exactly known when the Castle was built. According to a few authors, Pedro Guterri, the first Mayor of Castelo Novo, would have ordered its building in the 12th century. Located on a hillock near the border with Spain, the Castle features an irregular longitudinal shape and Gothic elements. One of the two doors of the citadel boasts a perfectly round arch. The walls would have featured raised walkways, battlements and merlons.

The Main Tower or Bell Tower: Standing near the castle, the Main Tower was part of the defensive structures of Castelo Novo. The Main Tower features four pinnacles and an Oriental dome, which reflect the influence of Arabian architecture.

The Council Hall: Located in the Council Square, the Council Hall is a Romanesque two-storey building with a longitudinal shape. Its main façade faces the Council Square. The ground floor features two round arches and an elliptical arch, extending into barrel vaults. All other lintels are square.

The Fountain in the Square or Fountain with the Three Spouts: Located in the Council Hall and dating back to the reign of King João V, in the 18th century, the Fountain is built into the main façade of the Council Hall. Trapezoidal in shape and built in the Baroque style favoured by King João V, the Fountain features three faces, each of which is adorned with a floral ornament, above a carved branch. The Fountain’s three spouts come out of these floral ornaments, which are separated by fake columns. Above the centre spout, an inflexed frame adorned with a carved bouquet points to the coat of arms of King João V, indicating who ruled Castelo Novo at the time.

The Obelisk: Facing the Council Hall, in the Council Square, the Castelo Novo Obelisk is one of the most curious monuments of its kind to be found in the district. Built in the Manueline style, it features a pyramidal top decorated with heraldic bearings, half spheres and stylised plant motifs. Two iron bars are still attached to this structure, set atop an octagonal column with flat surfaces, which rests directly upon six octagonal steps. The column shaft is topped by a cylindrical piece decorated with armillary spheres.

The Bica Fountain: Located in the Bica Square, the Bica Fountain dates back to the 18th century. Built in the Baroque style, it consists of an upright, rectangular wall flanked by two columns and topped by a bevelled Latin cross and the coat of arms of King João V.

The Fundeiro Fountain: Also known as the King’s Fountain, it is located at the entrance to the village. The Fundeiro Fountain was offered to the village by King Dinis in the 14th century.

The Parish Church: Located in the Adro Square, the Parish Church was built in 1732. Dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, it represents a fine example of sacred architecture.

The Misericórdia Church: Dating back to the 17th century, the Misericórdia Church, located in the Misericórdia Square, features Mannerist elements.

Chapel of Saint António: This chapel stands on the Santo António Street, near the old Council Hall.

Chapel of Saint Ana: Dating back to the 11th-12th century, this chapel is located near the school.

Chapel of Saint Brás: Located near the road that connects Castelo Novo to the EN18 road, this chapel was built in the 16th century and features Manueline and Mannerist elements.

Lagariça: This agricultural structure was possibly built in the 7th-8th century. Located near the Lagariça Watermill, it consists of a shell-shaped shallow hole carved into granitic rock.

The Gallows: Located at a site known as the hanging spot, it consists of a series of irregularly-shaped rocks that form a platform on which two skulls and several shinbones have been carved.

Archaeological Findings: Archaeological excavations are currently taking place near the Castle. Pottery and other objects from the 14th-16th century have already been found. Traces of the Roman Empire have also been found all over the village.

 

In: www.cm-fundao.pt

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