A few minutes from Mêda, we find the Aldeia de Marialva, a historic place that represents the best of Portuguese ancestry.
Imagine yourself walking through a historic site, still preserved and flanked by ancient walls and even a castle. THE Marialva village does not go unnoticed and has much to discover.
We tell you what to visit in the village and in the region, so that you feel part of the History of Portugal.
Marialva village: go back in time
Marialva is about 7 kilometers from Mêda, in Guarda. It is one of the main attractions for those who pass there, as a result of its characteristic landscape and surroundings. The village of Marialva is one of the 13 Historic Villages in the country and still has a lot to tell – along with others like piódãofor example.
A village of conquests
To tell the story of Aldeia de Marialva, we have to go back to the 17th century. VI BC, when the Túrduli (a tribe that belonged to the Lusitanian peoples) founded, in the same place, the city of Aravor – which was later conquered by the Romans.
From Aravor, it came to be known as Civitas Aravorum, baptized by the emperors Hadrian and Trajan who started to govern it – albeit for a short time, since the Visigoths were the people who followed in the conquest of the city.
It was only with the occupation of the Arabs that the place became known as Malva, a designation that comes closest to the current name of the village. It was only with Fernando Magno, king of León (and responsible for the beginning of the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula), that the name Marialva was made official.
With the wars resulting from the Reconquista, Marialva ended up being depopulated, but it was then that, in 1179, D. Afonso Henriques had the place repopulated. Later, D. Sancho I, successor son, rebuilt the castle and, from then on, it is history.
Marialva is divided into 3 distinct nuclei:
- citadel: concerns the village that existed inside the castle and which, nowadays, is uninhabited;
- suburb: extends beyond the walls, where you can find churches, chapels, among other rural dwellings;
- debt: is the wooded area that extends to the Marialva stream.
What to visit in Marialva
There are a number of historic sites that you should see when visiting Aldeia de Marialva. At first glance, they may not seem important, but the truth is that they were the scene of major milestones in Portuguese history and, as such, deserve a visit:
old town hall
Located in Largo da Praça, this is a faithful representative of the architecture of the time.
Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes/Saint John the Baptist
Located outside the wall, close to Porta do Anjo da Guarda, this chapel was framed among the remains of the Convent of the Templars.
Chapel of Santa Barbara
A small temple and, at the same time, a viewpoint over Devesa.
Chapel of Senhor dos Passos
This is a chapel that you should not miss due to its interior decoration, typical of the Mannerist style.
16th century cistern
Located in Largo do Pelourinho, this cistern guaranteed the supply of water to the Citadel.
St. Peter’s Church
A historic landmark in Aldeia de Marialva and another faithful representation of the Mannerist style.
Church of Santiago
An example that two styles can coexist: Mannerist and Johannine.
Guardian Angel’s Gate
Also known as Porta de São Miguel, this is the main entrance to the Citadel.
Every corner of Aldeia de Marialva is iconic and absolutely unmissable. THE best time to visit the village it is undoubtedly during the month of May. Why? Because from the 18th to the 20th of that month, the Marialva Market takes place, an event organized by the Municipality of Mêda that recreates one of the most prosperous periods in Marialva.
The atmosphere is very medieval and extends throughout the city, including the castle. Take the opportunity to travel back in time through a market of regional products, musical and theatrical moments that date back to the Middle Ages, as well as recreations of battles from the time – similar to what happens in the Medieval Journey, in Santa Maria da Feira.
What to do in Meda
Although Aldeia de Marialva is one of the Historic Villages in Portugal that you shouldn’t miss, the truth is that the Mêda region also deserves your attention, so we leave you some suggestions.
Historic Center of Mêda
As in any other region, the historic center is a place that should not be missing from your itinerary. In addition to being able to visit the Mother Church from the 17th century. From the 16th century, you can also visit the Torre do Relógio, the Fonte do Espírito Santo and also the Solar dos Casas Novas.
Also located in the historic center of Mêda, this museum was built in the old jail building. In addition to getting to know the city’s most historic moments, you can also find out about the region’s ethnographic collection.
Shops and other craft places
Mêda is known for the production of pottery, linen, wool and basketry, using ancestral craft techniques that are worth knowing.