Montemor-o-Velho

Montemor-o-Velho is situated in the center of Portugal, in a region that has been populated since ancient times. The archaeological remains are visible at various places distributed throughout the county, including the town of Santa Olaia. It was occupied from the Neolithic to the middle ages, with emphasis on the Iron Age (VIII-VII century BC). There are archaeological remains from the Roman era within the city: the finds at the site of Senhora do Desterro, where there was a Roman villa and a necropolis, brick vaulted graves, coins of the fourth century, the tombstone of Jupiter in the chapel of Madalena, the tombstone of Lúcio Cádio Cela (which is now in the National Museum Machado de Castro in Coimbra) and the monumental blocks at the castle's donjon. Be sure to visit the castle of Montemor-o-Velho, the Porta da Peste, the ruins of Palácio das Infantas, the Church of Santa Maria de Alcáçova, the Torre de Menagem (donjon), the Torre do Relógio de Tentúgal, the chapel of Misericórdia de Montemor-o-Velho, the Igreja Matriz de São Martinho, the chapel of São Sebastião, the Igreja e Claustro de Nossa Senhora dos Anjos and the Manor of Alarcões (where the Municipal Library is located). The Natural Reserve of Paul de Arzila and that of Paul do Taipal deserve a careful visit, as they offer the possibility to observe varied animal species, particularly birds that breed here. In the typical gastronomy of Montemor are include the arroz de lampreia (lamprey rice), the papas laberças (turnip greens porridge), the pato à moda do Mondego (Mondego-style duck dish) or arroz malandro de cabidela (kind of stew made with chicken meat and blood and with rice). The conventual sweets, characteristic of the region, include the papos-de-anjo (pastries made with whipped egg yolks, baked and then boiled in sugar syrup), the barrigas de freira (sweet porridge made with almonds and bread crumbles) and queijadas de Pereira (cheese pastries), pastéis de Tentúgal (kind of puff pastry with an egg filling), arroz doce (rice pudding) and espigas doces de Montemor (Montemor-style sweet cobs). The CITEMOR-Theatre Festival, which takes place between July and August, is one of the most important events of its kind in the country.

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