Santa Maria da Feira Castle (Portugal)

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The Castle of Santa Maria da Feira is a Portuguese castle in the municipality of Santa Maria da Feira, the district of Aveiro. Emblematic Portuguese medieval military architecture, the Santa Maria da Feira Castle is one of the monuments that better reflects the diversity of defenses used during the Middle Ages, having been instrumental in the Reconquista process and autonomy of County of Portugal. E 'was classified as a national monument since 1910.

Tradition has it that the castle of Feira is located on the site of a temple dedicated to the local indigenous deities Bandit-Lugo Toiraeco, which was later transformed into a Marian shrine. Although tombstones and other vestiges encountered in the backcourt confirm the presence of a Roman settlement dating back to the first empire, there is no confirmation of the link to other temples. In the vicinity of this site there was the Roman road Olissippo-Bracara Augusta connecting Lisbon and Braga respectively.

When, in the mid-9th century (868), Alfonso III of León has created administrative and military region, who called Terra de Santa Maria, put his defenses in the military fortress that existed in Civitas Sanctae Mariae. For many years, the fortress functioned as a forward base in the Christian Reconquista by the Arab invasions of the south. Twice in 1000, the armies of Al-Mansur captured the castle and destroyed the local population, but were later retaken by the Christian forces. During the reign of Bermudo III (1028-1037) Arab continued to groped to capture the castle, but were defeated definitively in the battle of Caesar. The governors, Guterres and Mem Mem Lucidio developed a gigantic project to rebuild the castle and develop the lands of Terra de Santa Maria. The kings Leonese distinguish people with Honra de Infanções, an honor, only when received by the judges, magistrates and councilors Lisbon. The first reference to a structure built in this position occurred in the 11th century, in Chronica Gothorum, identifying the construction of the lower part of the keep and the fortress. Since 1117, Feira was the location of one of the most important fairs of Portugal, which, over time, have given the city its name. The fair was founded in the shadow of the castle.

The castle was the center of the uprising in 1128 between Afonso Henriques and his mother, Queen Teresa, Countess of Portugal. Teresa had created tensions between the leaders of the Iberian peninsula through the conflicts with his sister Urraca, and then resume Alfonso VII (the grandson), resulting in its invasion of the County of Portugal. Teresa also alienated the clergy and nobles, supporting its alliance with Galicia, through her lover Fernando Pérez, and promoting the ecclesiastical pretensions of the rival Galicia Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, Diego Gelmírez. The clergy and nobility allied with Afonso Henriques claims to the management of the County of Portugal over his mother. Pero Gonçalves de Marnel, from a family of landowners, governor of Santa Maria da Feira and alcalde of the castle at the time, was one of those nobles who felt threatened by the growing power of Galicia within the county: was substituted as the governor of Coimbra by Fernando Pérez himself, and saw a threat to his wealth, prestige and possessions, and then himself and his castle with Afonso Henriques to São Mamede aligned. The Galician-supported forces of the queen were defeated 13 June 1128, in part because of the activities that occurred at the Castle.
By 1251, the settlement of Santa Maria da Feira has been identified in the inventory real (Portuguese: Inquirições of King Alfonso I.
The castle and the Feira lands were given as dowry in 1300 on the marriage of Elizabeth of Aragon in the 13th century.

During the 14th century, the walls were finally built, probably at the time Gonçalo Garcia de Figueiredo was alcalde in 1357.
On 10 September 1372, King Ferdinand donated the lands of Santa Maria João Afonso Telo de Meneses, Count of Barcelos. But, in 1383, during the 1383-1385 crisis, Meneses escapes for Castile, leaving the structure in the hands of Martim Correia. This change then facilitated its capture by the men loyal to the Master of Aviz, John, in 1385. On April 8, 1385, the territory is under the leadership of Alvaro Pereira from King John I, cousin of the Constable Nuno Alvares Pereira, before to be granted João Rodrigues de Sá.

In 1448, it was donated to Fernão Pereira, who was obliged to rebuild the castle, which was only completed in the second half of the 15th century. Under the Pereiras, the castle was transformed into a sumptuous residence; the great works that define the architectural character of the castle date back to this period, including the guard towers, turrets and reinforced connical defenses.
The fourth Earl of Feira, Diogo Forjaz, order the marker / registration that has been erected over the Barbican to commemorate the construction of the clock tower (which existed until 1755).

During the 17th century, the construction of internal Palacete is concluded (which has since been destroyed: the only remnant being a local fountain). E 'was also in this period (1656) that Forjaz Joana Pereira de Silva and Meneses, Feira Countess, ordered built the Baroque chapel with an octagonal shape.

But, after 1708, the Feira accounts were extinct, and their possession were passed on to the Casa do Infantado, marking its long decline and ruin. Due to the abandonment of the castle was ravaged by fire on January 15th 1722. Its ruins were purchased at a public sale by General Silva Pereira in 1839. In 1852, the royal family has visited the facility, since which it was abandoned in the early 18th century.

E 'was classified as a national monument since 1881. The main well was dug at this time (completed in 1877).
In 1905, the castle began to be publicly supported by the formal restoration, resulting in the posting of a guard. It was during this period that Drs. Gonçalves Coelho and Vaz Ferreira discovered the first inscriptions of the castles history. During this period, completed in 1907 and then in 1909, the castle has been restored, the second Fortunato Fonseca. 1908 visit of King Manuel II at the site, resulted in a renewed interest, that struck a commission to protect and preserve the castle.

The public access to the castle began in 1950, with the direction of the Direcção Geral dos Serviços de Urbanização (Directorate General of Urban Services), even though there was already paid guided planned since 1927. From 1935 to 1944, DGEMN - Direcção Geral dos Edificios and Monumentos Nacionais (General Directorate for national Buildings and monuments) has completed several public restoration projects at the castle: in 1935 under architect Baltasar de Castro, parapet walls and battlements were cleared without obstacles, and reconstructed; in 1936, the reconstruction of the walls and the avenue of access once a military square; and in 1939-1944, the demolition of the Palace accounts, excavations and reconstruction of the walls, tanks, walkways and roof of the chapel. On 13 January 1963 the castle was lit up, on the initiative of engineer Arantes e Oliveira, public works in the office, and Galvão Teles, the Ministry of Education. minor renovations were completed in 1986.
On 1 June 1992 the property passed under the authority of the Instituto Português do Patrimonio arquitectonico - IPPAR (Portuguese Institute of Architectural Balance), by decree 106F / 92. Over the decades, even after the IPPAR was remodeled in IGESPAR, Castle was monitored, managed and directed by the Comissão de Vigilância do Castelo de Santa Maria da Feira, which operates guided and interpretive guides for inspiration.

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 40.920867
Longitude: -8.5426667
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Map of Santa Maria da Feira Castle