The Alentejo city that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty

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It is a perfect destination for a getaway. It is a village with many attractions and named after an emblematic Portuguese dynasty.

There are several places in Portugal that offer incredible experiences. There are villages and cities that bring together a number of monuments that help us understand part of Portugal’s vast history.

Our country has almost 900 years of history. Many episodes have taken place in small villages and towns. One of the places we must visit is Avis. If you need suggestions for a getaway that provides rest and reveals an enriching experience, visit Avis.

This is a perfect destination for a getaway. It is a village with many attractions that combine history and natural beauty.

The Alentejo town that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty

The Location

The Alentejo city that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty
Avis is a charming village in the heart of the Alentejo. It is located in the district of Portalegre. The charming village of Avis rises on top of a granite Alentejo hill, being present at 201 meters of altitude.

Its historical importance to the national territory is often forgotten, but its history is one of the reasons that makes the town an unforgettable destination.

The Alentejo city that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty

An unforgettable experience

The experience of walking through the narrow streets of Avis is particularly pleasant. Its whitewashed houses stand out in a landscape that is one of the most spectacular of the Alentejo plains.

This village is a perfect destination for a trip. Avis guarantees moments of rest or fun. Avis offers an unforgettable experience, combining history and tradition, natural beauty and unmissable attractions. In addition, the local cuisine represents the region well.

Discover the charms of Avis, a village lost in the heart of the Alentejo, but which proves to be an unforgettable experience. Its set of attractions is a history lesson.

A history lesson

In the 12th century, the Christian reconquest took place around its castle. Avis became very important for the Portuguese kingdom in the 13th century, when it became home to the important Military Order of Avis.

At present, the town of Avis still preserves three of its six original towers, namely Rainha, Santo António and S. Roque. In the village, it is also possible to find some parts of the medieval wall, which still guarantees the security of many of the houses in Avis.

Main attractions of the village

Castle of Avis

The Alentejo city that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty
It is estimated that the castle was built around 1214. Therefore, it will have been during the reign of D. Afonso II, by members of the Order of Avis. The Master of the Order, Dom João I, ascended the throne of Portugal in 1385.

There is a curious legend associated with the name of the Order of Avis and the castle. According to the legend, some monks were looking for the most suitable place to build a fortress. At that moment, they were on a hill facing the area that was still under Muslim rule.

Suddenly, they saw two eagles perched on a cork oak. The image was so striking that the religious took it as a favorable sign. So it was decided to build the fortress on that spot. This place was called Avis, which means bird in Latin.

Considering that the symbol of the Order includes an eagle, it is clear that this animal was highly esteemed in the region. The castle of Avis is classified as a national monument. At present, however, little remains of this fortification.

Main Church

This temple is also known as the Church of Our Lady of Orada. This temple was built in the 15th century. However, the entire temple was altered and suffered several renovations and reconstructions as early as the 19th century.

The Alentejo city that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty

This religious building presents an exterior where the facade stands out, which is presented in the classical style. In this area there are also two bell towers.

Inside, the mother church has a nave with a wood-paneled ceiling. There are also two small chapels on the sides of the church. The church of Nossa Senhora da Orada also has an image of the Virgin and some tile panels.

Monastery of the Order of Avis

This monumental complex is very impressive. Throughout its history, it has managed to bring together the church, sacristy, chapter hall, refectory, cloister and bell tower. A remarkable set that makes us realize its greatness. This place with so much history is full of life.

The Alentejo city that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty

The entrance to the Convent of the Order of Avis is through a majestic marble portal. The convent preserves its medieval features. Inside this construction we will find traces of fantastic tiles (yellow and blue).

You can also see traces of Baroque carved altarpieces, which are found in the choir. The sacristy is Renaissance. It has a vaulted ceiling with consoles supported by carved stone corbels.

The church has an important treasure. It is the marble tomb of Fernão Rodrigues de Sequeira, the last of the Avis Masters.

The former monastery of São Bento de Avis
This space presents a historical heritage that it carries within its walls. For eight years, the cloisters and rooms of this architectural space have been breathing new life. The former convent of São Bento de Avis houses both the Centro Interpretativo Ordem de Avis (Interpretive Center of the Order of Avis) and the Campo Alentejano Museum.

Campo Alentejo Museum

The Alentejo city that gave its name to a Portuguese dynasty
This space is located in the former dormitory of the convent. The Municipal Museum of Avis or Campo Alentejano Museum is a cultural space with a lot to teach. In this space we can learn about the history of the region through archaeological findings, highlighting the presence of handicraft pieces and replicas of monuments.

In the center of the museum, there is a room dedicated to rural life. The typical Alentejo house is reconstructed. There is a collection dedicated to agricultural, field and carpentry work, including seed selectors, hoes, maize shellers, cattle branding irons and cork objects, among others.

Avis Order Interpretation Center

In this room, you will find interpretive panels and interactive screens that tell the story of nine centuries of history.

The Avis Interpretive Center takes us on a journey back in time, starting with the foundation of the monastery in the 13th century, with a natural focus on the development of the city over time.

This space highlights the way the Order of Avis (and others like it) operated.

 

Useful information

Address: Largo Cândido dos Reis, Avis

Contacts. 242 410 093

Opening hours: from 10 to 12:30 and from 14 to 16:30

Saturday, until 15:30

Closed on Sunday and Monday

Maranhão Dam
This structure is located just outside this small village, so be sure to visit this attraction. The Maranhão Dam was built in the 1950s. This dam was designed for irrigation.

The scenery is truly stunning. The views are breathtaking. The beauty of the landscape is painted in blues and greens. The dam is worth a visit because it is inspiring whether you are an artist or not. Many take advantage of the opportunity to practice various sports.

Gastronomy
Avis presents a quality gastronomy, respecting the tradition of the Alentejo. Therefore, when you visit the village of Avis, you should taste its products. Honey, bread and wine are very popular.

The handmade sweets, savories, filhoses and broas are temptations you can’t miss. The liqueurs are another temptation. It is a typical product of the region. There is quality and variety. There are liqueurs of different flavors, namely: raspberry, cinnamon, blueberry, acorn, among others.

Where to eat?

The Wall Tavern
This place is built in the middle of the medieval wall. The Taberna da Muralha remains faithful to traditional Alentejo recipes. Recently opened, this establishment presents the best products of the region.

The Taberna da Muralha offers a more intimate setting, with a capacity of 28 people. The baked cod is one of the irresistible proposals of the Taberna da Muralha.

Address: Rua Cerca do Convento, 3, Avis

Contact: 242 032 691

Opening hours: from 12h to 16h and from 19h to 00h

This location is closed on Sundays.

More information, here.

Montinho’s Tavern
This place also values tradition and the good tastes of the region. This restaurant is located in the village of Alcórrego, which is at the gates of Avis.

Address: Rua do Comércio, 6, Alcórrego

Contacts: 242 412 954

Opening hours are from 10 to 23 hours. Closed on Mondays.

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