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Obidos ~ The Town of the Queens

The Travel-in-Portugal.com website tells us about Obidos’s romantic history that makes it even more endearing: “Perched on a hill rising out of an agricultural plain, Óbidos is one of Portugal’s picturesque gems. From its lofty center, one gazes upon expanses of vineyards speckled with whirling windmills and terracotta-roofed homesteads. Nearer, narrow cobbled streets, lined typically with whitewashed, bougainvillea-draped houses, wind up to the walled interior.

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First remarked upon for its beauty by the 13th century Queen Isabel de Aragon, Óbidos was presented to her as a gift by her romantically inclined husband, King Dinis. Henceforth, princes have offered it down through the ages to their brides.

The castle crowns the town and now houses guests in its luxurious rooms. In past times, however, this was a formidable medieval fortification. It was won back from the Moors in 1148 by the king and his men, apparently disguised as cherry trees, and lovingly restored after extensive damage in the 1755 earthquake.

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 Equally interesting history is attached to the renaissance church, the Church of Santa Maria, where Prince Alfonso V married, in August of 1441, his cousin aged ten and eight respectively.

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The ramparts are traversed through an ornately tiled gateway and few vehicles bother negotiating the ancient streets, making it ideal for mooching around the higgledy piggledy houses and walkways that in spring come alive with a cascading array of brightly colored flowers.

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Local crafts, delicacies and liqueurs abound in the traditional shops that line the main street, including the famed local tipple Ginginha, a sweet brandy liqueur made with local cherries.”

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