Alvito, Alentejo

Alvito  is a Village and a municipality in Beja District in Portugal.

The Alvito region has been inhabited since the Neolithic, and during the period of Roman domination several villae were established nearby, later occupied by Visigoths and Moors. During the Reconquista, Alvito was conquered by the Portuguese in 1234, being later (1251) donated by King Afonso III to Estêvão Anes, chancellor of the kingdom, who promoted the settlement of the area.

The village gained a foral (letter of feudal rights) in 1280, confirmed by King Dinis I in 1283. In 1296 an annual fair was established, attesting the rapid development of the region. In 1387, King John I donated Alvito to knight Diogo Lobo in exchange for his services in the decisive Battle of Aljubarrota (1385), and in 1475 the title of Baron was granted to the rulers of Alvito.

Alvito Castle

The 15th and 16th centuries were a time of strong economic and populational development of Alvito, which reached 1700 inhabitants in 1527. The Castle of Alvito was rebuilt between 1494 and 1504, and its architecture and decoration show an interesting mix of Manueline (Portuguese late Gothic) and Mudéjar (Arab-influenced) styles, typical of the Alentejo region. Also the main church (matriz) of Alvito, in a mix of Manueline and early Renaissance styles, dates from the early 16th century.

Main Church (matriz)

 

“Ermida de S. Sebastião”
“Ermida de S. Sebastião” fits in Manueline-Mudéjar style, being very similar, although more humble, to the Ermidas of S. Brás de Évora and Santo André of Beja.
It is a building of longitudinal plant, formed by a rectangular nave and a chancel. The vault of the nave, as well as that of the main chapel, are lined with fresco paintings composed of musician angels, attributed to José de Escobar’s workshop.

Inside “Ermida de S. Sebastião”

 

Inside “Ermida de S. Sebastião”

 

 The castle was built under D. Afonso V reign in 1481, the first Baron of Alvito, in a slight soil elevation next to Praça da República square. It has a rectangular plan and tower-shaped vertexes. The squared keep rises from northwest in the middle of the wall with its thick walls and grid windows. Its palace-like features are given by Manueline style windows with double horseshoe arches in lacing tile and white marble pillars. Alvito Castle has been recently recovered and converted into a Pousada.

Alvito Castle

 

This church was built in the end of the 15th century, combining several styles, from Gothic to Baroque, from Manueline to Renaissance and Mannerism. It has an interesting Renaissance portal and big buttresses with conic tower endings and battlements on top. In the south wing rises the clock tower with its marble sun clock. 17th century tiles, mainly yellow over a white background, predominantly cover the interior. The main chapel dates back to the 15th century, preceded by an arch framed by pilasters made of typical Alentejo stone. Thirty coffers divided in six rows split the cradle vault.

Main Church

Inside Main Church

Inside Main Church

Inside Main Church

Source: Wikipedia

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