The site of first Visigothic cathedral built on the Iberian peninsula, Idanha-a-Velha is now a small village in Central Portugal, with less than 100 inhabitants. This humble village sits on top of what was once the city of Egitania, previously home to thousands. The Romans settled here from as early as 16 AD. King Wamba and Pope Damasus were both born here and King Roderick was buried here. The Romans left their mark on Idanha a Velha (Old Idanha) and one of the main reasons to visit is to marvel at fantastically well preserved wall around the village, the best example of it’s kind in the Iberian Peninsula. The tiny village also holds the largest collection of carved Roman stones in Europe.
Chaos was excited to see if there were any Knights or Roman remains, Mayhem was just happy to explore. We marched along the walkway like legionnaires, over the village walls and marvelled at the magnificent views of the Portuguese campo surrounding the village. The boys were treated to some figs by a local, picking from the huge tree outside her house. A little further into the walled village we came across the cafe with a giant Mulberry tree outside. This village is an incredible step back in time, the Roman bridge over the river Ponsul alone is over 2000 years old. There is a map of the area and other local walk leaflets available at the village tourist information office and next to the office is a restored Olive mill housing a collection of contemporary art. Idanha a Velha is one of Portugals twelve official ‘Historic villages’ and a wonderful place to spend an hour or two exploring, admiring the work of the ever skilful Roman engineers and the magnificent countryside views.
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