The statue in Trancoso’s Praça do Municipio might at first seem puzzling – a gentleman with a cobbler’s last and shoe, and a rolled parchment in hand. It is the supposed likeness of the town’s most famous son, Gonçalo Bandarra, a humble sixteenth-century shoemaker given to versifying – and, more to the point, coming up with prophecies that predicted the end of the world and the return of a hero-like king to save Portugal. The Inquisition took a dim view of this sort of thing and Bandarra was punished, and his verses banned, but the prophecies took on a life of their own with the later destruction of the cream of Portuguese nobility at the battle of Alcáçer-Quibir in Morocco (1578). The young crusader-king Dom Sebastião – killed in battle – was held by many to be the hero-king who would one day return to free Portugal from the Spanish yoke, and Bandarra was posthumously elevated to the status of a Nostradamus figure. He was eventually honoured with a tomb in the town’s Igreja de São Pedro.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Portugal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

9 of the best pousadas in Portugal

9 of the best pousadas in Portugal

From Gothic monasteries and riverside palaces, to Moorish castles that loom over terraced hillsides, Portugal has a good deal of striking places to stay. Its c…

12 Oct 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Among a certain segment of travellers, cruising is sometimes maligned: the dismal buffet and watered-down cocktails. Those kitschy lounge acts. The contrived sh…

29 Mar 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
Our expert's guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Our expert's guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Heading to the Portuguese capital this year? Whether you want rich history or shops galore, these are the best areas to stay in Lisbon according to our expert.…

09 Feb 2016 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month