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Castelo de Óbidos, Portugal

Castelo de Óbidos is a castle in Óbidos, Portugal, Subregion Oeste. It is classified as a National Monument.

The name “Óbidos” probably derives from the Latin term oppidum, meaning “citadel”, or “fortified city”. Roman occupation of the area was confirmed by archaeological excavations, revealing the existence of a Roman city civitas near the hilltop on which the village and castle were established. This Roman settlement is most certainly the mysterious Eburobrittium, cited by Pliny the Elderas situated between Collipo (near present-day Leiria) and Olisipo (Lisbon). Archeological surveys determined the remains of a forum, baths and other Roman structures near the settlement.

After the fall of Rome, came under the influence of the Visigoths, although specific records are missing. The Roman town of Eburobrittium was abandoned in the 5th century for the more secure hilltop where today the principal settlement located. Sometime after 713 the Moors established a fortification on this mountain, while a Christian community of Mozarabs lived in the Moncharroneighbourhood.

The area was taken from the Moors by the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, in 1148. Tradition states that one knight, Gonçalo Mendes da Maia, was responsible for the successful storming of the Moorish castle. The retaking of Óbidos was a final stage in the conquest of the Estremadura region, after the settlements ofSantarém, Lisbon and Torres Vedras. Following the control of the region, the settlement received its first foral (English: charter) in 1195, during the reign of Sancho I. In 1210, King Afonso II gave the title of this village to Queen Urraca. Since then, Óbidos has often been patronized by the Queens of Portugal, giving rise to its informal title as Vila das Rainhas (English: town of the Queens); several royal consorts enriched the village with donations from the Middle Ages until the 16th century.

The castle and walls of Óbidos were remodelled during the reign of King Dinis I. The limestone and marble structure was strengthened and elaborated, while the keepwas created in the 14th century, by King Fernando. By the time of the first remodelling project, the settlement had also grown beyond the gates of the castle.

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