Date(s) - 15/02/2020
Capital of a Kingdom: Mértola Islamica
“And Mértola lies on the river of Odiana; and it is a very ancient castle and there are ancient buildings there.” It almost sums up this allusion of ar-Razi, as Santiago Macias pointed out, what the medieval texts tell us about the Islamic Mértola. But the importance of the city went far beyond such a meager deposition. Taking advantage of a rocky spur that separates the Guadiana from the Oeiras stream, it was a pivotal point in the domain of Baixo Alentejo. Here, the legacy of Islam is eloquently felt. Presence of more than five centuries, it is part of a long historical conjuncture.
The streets of the town, parallel to the river and communicating with each other through narrow passages, overlap with the road layout of the Islamic period. As for the walls, which are the object of constant repairs, they can only be punctually attributed to the same period; from the Almohad era the North Curtain dates, with massive quadrangular towers. The remains of the old mosque, transformed into a church after the conquest, in 1238, by the Order of Santiago, as well as the excavations of an extensive residential area, built in the 12th century, are important testimonies. In local life, on the other hand, traces of this heritage remain.
Collaboration: Mértola Archaeological Site
Support: UNESCO Centre of Architecture and Art; Municipality of Mértola
Guides: Susana Gómez Martínez (archaeologist)
Program / Source: https://terrassemsombra.pt/