The municipal area of Castelo de Vide is situated in the center of Portugal, close to the Spanish border. It has a population of about 4.000 inhabitants and covers an area of 264 km2 in the district of Portalegre in the north-east of the Alentejo. It is surrounded by the municipal areas of Marvão in the south-east, Portalegre in the south, Crato in the south-west, Nisa in the north and the Spanish Extremadura in the north-east. It includes the village of Castelo de Vide, which hosts the council of the municipality, and the village Póvoa e Meadas.
The largest fraction of the area is part of the Natural Park of Serra de S. Mamede, a place with a unique biodiversity arising from the special conditions of the geomorphology and the climate. The whole area is a nature reserve with embedded valleys, majestic quartzite ridges, rich fauna and flora, and various water springs. 
Great cultural value can be found in the whole municipal area. There is a remarkably rich architectural heritage, witness of human development during centuries. The changes by men along the past were done on the base of respect for nature and with the objective to keep a balance between men and nature. Besides numerous archaeological remains, there also are constructions which are well integrated in the landscape. For example the terraces on steep slopes; dry stone walls used to fence paths or rural property, thrashing barns, where the corn is left to dry; oil mills used in the production of olive oil; wells and respective waterwheels; ovens, chapels, traditional houses and many agricultural facilities (like huts and round buildings). 
Due to the versatile topography, there are two different types of landscape concerning the flora. The southern slopes are clearly Mediterranean with cork trees, holm oaks, and cultivated areas with olive trees and vineyards. Northern slopes show Atlantic characteristics with more shadows and humidity. There, Pyrenean oaks and chestnut trees are predominant. This vegetation (cork oak forests, other types of oak trees, thicket and chestnuts) represents a rich heritage and is an indicator of the efforts to protect and conserve nature. Besides, it is evidence for the ability of flora and fauna to adapt to the local environment.  
The local fauna is represented by a great variety of birds: some of them very rare like the black stork, the Bonelli's eagle, and the Griffon vulture; others more common like the hawk, the short-toed eagle, the kestrel, the kite, the harrier, the eagle owl and the wood owl. In total, more than half of the wild and breeded species of Portugal can be observed in the area of Castelo de Vide. Furthermore it is possible to observe a large variety of mammals like boars, deer, badgers, weasels, mongooses, genets, wild cats, foxes and rabbits. 
The Dammed Lake of Póvoa e Meadas
The dammed lake of Póvoa e Meadas is situated about 11 km northeast of the city of Castelo de Vide and was built in 1927 in order to provide electric energy. It was the first water power plant of Portugal. The reservoir is part of a protected area and is fed by the longest river of the municipal area, the Ribeira de Nisa, as well as by several other small streams. The lake itself covers an area of about 236 ha and is 6 km long. The closest surroundings of the reservoir show characteristic granitic outcrops, which are part of the very special beauty of the place. Oaks mark the surrounding landscape.
Besides the production of energy and the provision of water, the dammed lake is also an excellent location for touristic activities in nature. This is partly due to its recreational potential as well as the beautiful surrounding landscape, which holds various interesting habitats worth to be protected.
Dozens of archaeological and ethnographic monuments can be visited around the dammed lake, for example rock tombs from different periods (excavated from rock or slabs) some of which form cemeteries. Besides, there are dolmen, a medieval bridge, round buildings, huts, thrashing barns, waterwheels and oil mills. It is also an excellent location to observe species, which needs habitats close to the water: birds, amphibians, reptiles, and even some endangered species (such as the otter and the black stork).
Castelo de Vide
The town of Castelo de Vide is situated in the northern part of the Serra de S. Mamede between 540 and 600 m above sea level. It dates back to the 13th century and developed from the ridge, where the castle is located, and the adjoining southern slope. This area is know today as “Canto da Aldeia” (village corner). Later, it expanded along the ridge in a southeasterly direction. In the middle of the 16th century, the whole ridge was populated, including the northern slope. Jews settled in this disadvantaged area in terms of sun exposure.
In the 16th century, Castelo de Vide developed rapidly, due to the development of agricultural production and weaving, and the intensified trade with Spain. Several churches and chapels as well as remarkable mansions were constructed. The expansion of the city was limited by the construction of the city walls in the 18th century. From the 19th century, the number of inhabitants of the city increased more and more, resulting in the construction of new roads to the surrounding areas. Parts of the city walls had to be destroyed for those roads. At the end of the 20th century another period of expansion started. New parts of the town developed outside the city walls or even disconnected from the city. Castelo de Vide is a unique and very characteristic town of high interest in terms of architecture, history and culture. It is worth learning more about the military and ecclesiastical architecture, for example by visiting the castle (13th to 16th century) and the medieval burgh, as well as the remainders of the walls of the bastion from the 18th century and the fortress Forte de S. Roque (17th to 18th century).

There is an unusually high number of ecclesiastical buildings in Castelo de Vide. And except for the synagog (before the 14th century), they are all catholic churches and chapels. Worth mentioning are the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria da Devesa (18th to 19th century), the Igreja de N. Sra. da Alegria (17th century) and the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Penha (16th century).
Besides, there is the old Jewish quarter around the synagog with steep streets full of flowers. This part of the town was recently transformed into a museum in order to impart the Jewish inheritance, which we can still find nowadays. Furthermore, Castelo de Vide has the second largest collection worldwide of ogival doors dating back to the 14th to 16th century. They can be found on the slope to the castle.
Some cultural highlights are the Centro de Interpretação de Megalitismo, the museum workshop of the traditional blacksmith Mestre Carolino, the agricultural museum in Póvoa e Meadas and the municipal library. There you can get information on cultural activities or you can find numerous interesting publications. Another important aspect are the traditions, which are especially present during holidays like Carnival, Easter, holidays related to the patron saints of the regions, various fairs and processions. Costumes, dances, songs and customs play an important role as well.  
Castelo de Vide is also known as “Sintra of the Alentejo”, as D. Pedro the Fifth called it. The surrounding areas offer a large variety of routes and hiking tours, where you can enjoy the diverse landscape on foot, by bike or by car. Interesting contrasts in the relief provide impressive panoramas which transform regularly along the year with the change of the seasons.
There are also plenty of possibilities for sportive activities in Castelo de Vide, for example swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), maintenance trails, tennis courts, a multi-sports pavilion and a grass field with tartan track…
Folklore is a major cultural activity in the area. There are two folk groups which have the objective to preserve and spread traditions and customs of the region. Besides, handicrafts are an important touristic attraction and provide the livelihood of the people. Popular are works of wood or cork, pottery, wrought iron, embroidery and patchwork. Trying the local gastronomy is a must. Typical dishes are: Sarapatel (kind of a meat stew), Cachafrito (sauteed lamb), bread soup, potato soup with bell pepper, dogfish in garlic sauce, goat or sheep stomach in tomato sauce, Migas (bread soaked in stock and fried in olive oil) and many more. Popular sweets from the region are various pastries like Boleima and Queijadas, and cakes like Bolo da Massa and Bolo Finto. Castelo de Vide also offers numerous kinds of accommodation.
Póvoa e Meadas
The village Póvoa e Meadas is located 12 km northeast of Castelo de Vide. It is part of an area which is inhabited since the paleolithic age. A large number of archaeological finds from any eras since then, proof the long continuous history of this region.
Póvoa e Meadas is situated on a plateau at about 350 m above sea level. The vegetation on this plateau mainly consists of forests of cork oaks, olive groves, agricultural land and riparian zones. The village used to be an autonomous municipality and is presently the only village, which is not part of the town of Castelo de Vide. Presumably, Póvoa e Meadas was founded by the Templars around the 13th and 14th centuries. It developed around the present Igreja da Misericórdia (16th to 17th century). 
The center of the village evolved along the main road, which connects Castelo de Vide and Montalvão. It also expanded along the road to Nisa, which in the other direction leads to the district of Marvão. This development resulted in a widely spread settlement. Póvoa e Meadas exists mainly due to agriculture. The landowners had large mansions, which are impressive examples of the rural and agricultural architecture. The other smaller housings were inhabited by the employed people.
The Forno da Passagem was used by the village community for a long time and is a symbol for the communal spirit. The namesake alleyway (passagem) of this common oven is still preserved. This place was not only designated for baking bread, but also to warm up those who returned from their work in the fields on cold winter evenings, sitting there for a while before going home.
Other historically interesting buildings are the old municipal tower, various churches and chapels, many fountains, the Sobreiro e a Anta do Pai Anes and other archaeological remainders like the Menir da Meada, the largest menhir on the Iberian Peninsula.
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