Portugal // Estremadura and Ribatejo //

Castelo de Leiria

Leiria’s Castelo was an early site in the battle for control of what was to become the kingdom of Portugal. Taken from the Moors by Afonso Henriques in the twelfth century, it became a royal favourite and in the fourteenth century was the main residence of Dom Dinis. It’s been much altered since (the battlements are modern reconstructions), though it’s still an impressive sight, crowning the crags above town. You can see the former royal palace within the castle walls, while inside the keep is a small museum containing displays of armour and archeological finds. There’s also the shell of the old church of Nossa Senhora da Penha, which dates from around 1400.

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