Óbidos is precious, a typical village where tourism dominates, but where we easily forget the touristy “machine” so discreet as efficient.
In most of our old towns in Portugal, development was made against history, leading to the loss of many cultural references to the past.
In some places, the process has been stopped and reversed, with several initiatives of preservation and reconstruction.
Óbidos is an exception.
The development of town took always place respecting history and tradition, and that is easy to feel in the absolute harmony of the whole. There are not outstanding details, but each street, each building, each corner, is authentic, and harmonious.
For details see the good official page: Óbidos
City’s Main Door
The south entrance is a strange but beautiful door, that is also a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, the patron saint of Obidos.
This door was built in the 17th century, still showing a balcony from the same period.
The tiles were added in the 18th century
“Once the wedding present of a queen, the preserved medieval town of Óbidos lying 100 km north of Lisbon is without doubt one of Portugal’s most classic walled settlements. Walking the ramparts, visitors can enjoy views of windmills, vineyards and surrounding farmlands.
In the residential area below, narrow cobblestone streets are lined with whitewashed houses sporting terracotta roofs. The shops are piled high with local handicrafts, while in spring the town is ablaze with geraniums, morning glories and bougainvillaea” (from portugalvirtual)
Yes, I agree and couldn’t write it better, always feeling good in Óbidos!
Some people say it was Roman. Maybe!
For sure, the actual castle seen in Óbidos comes from the Arab occupation, until the XII century.
Damaged by Lisbon earthquake, it was reconstructed, and now it houses a luxury hotel.
If you are in a budget follow the ramparts and watch it from outside (better from north).
If you can afford more than 200 euros for a double room, go round and check-in for a historic night.
S Tiago church
This modest church from the 18th century (replacing an older one destroyed by Lisbon’s earthquake), almost inlaid in the castle, shows some baroque and neoclassical ornaments.
It’s only exterior evidence from the walls is the tower, and the white painting, topping one of the most beautiful streets in town.
Santa Maria church
Presumed as a Visigothic construction, the church was transformed in a mosque under Arabic occupation.
After Christian conquering, in 1148, it was dedicated to Santa Maria. It was reconstructed in the XVI century in Renaissance style, acquiring the look that it still keeps.
Nothing very important happened there until 30 years ago, when my brother decided that it was the proper place to get married.
And he did, allowing the first visit, several times repeated.
S Pedro church
This medieval church was ruined by Lisbon earthquake in 1755, only the main building escaping from destruction.
It still has a gilded altar from the XVI century, and it houses a small museum.
|“Os Lusíadas” by Luis de Camões is the greatest cultural reference of Portuguese literature and history. It’s an epic poem, celebrating the Portuguese discoveries and conquests, written in the 16th century.|
To register the discoveries, our navigators used to signal their discoveries by erecting a carved stone pillar, called “Padrão”, that are already present in almost all the continents.
To celebrate Camões there has been an initiative to erect in the local places mentioned in the poem a copy of a “Padrão”.
That’s what happen in Óbidos, near the southern entrance: A “Padrão” designed by Raul Lino and erected in 1932.
Pick a calm night (hot or cold, it’s the same, it’s only a matter of coat or not, but invite the rain to stay away).
Take your time, and walk along the narrow streets of Óbidos. You will find out that the beauty seen by day gets another expression with the discrete and balanced illumination.
If in summer, crowds will pass by you with the noisy happiness of the good moments. In winter, the austere loneliness of the streets direct you to one of the many bars where a few unconditional lovers of Óbidos enjoy the peace and tranquility of those selected moments.
Don’t do it often: you risk to become one of the unconditional…
Óbidos has become a top destination, and it is visited all days, all year around.
If you may choose your visiting time, do it in spring – You will have sun, escaping from the summer crowds that fill each street, shop or bar, and will see the place with the colors of the many flowers planted everywhere.
“Ginginha” is popular in Portugal, but Óbidos has a special detail – you may drink it by a chocolate cup, that tastes very well at the end.
Do you believe that, despite this originality, they are trying to design an exclusive Obidos glass for ginginha?
They say that their Ginginha is the best of Portugal!
Well… you may hear the same “decision” in many other places, starting, for instance, in Alcobaça, nearby…
Senhor da Pedra
For almost 50 years that church intrigues me!
I read that it has “hexagonal plant” but it really looks round. If we consider the external chapels, then the whole is a sort of triangle.
The style is clearly baroque, and I read somewhere that it is unfinished.
Anyway, that’s a silhouette that always catches our attention any time we look around from the high points of Óbidos or in its way.
Lagoon of Óbidos
Not far from Óbidos there’s a lagoon with the same name, communicating with the sea, that once extended to near the town.
Now it occupies a much smaller area, but it is still considerable.
For further details see my Foz do Arelho page.
|I had already passed many times in Gaeiras, without stopping.|
One day, I went TO Gaeiras and had a look around.
Nothing to compare to Óbidos, but this residential area, with almost one third of all the population of the great Óbidos is not ugly, and is trying to develop quickly.
This event, “presépios (nativity scene)” exhibition, is an example each year in December.
I will write something more about Gaeiras in Leiria district page.
Usseira, a small village about 5 Km south of Óbidos, what does it have?
Calm life, nice people, and… a few friends.
Do I need more to go and to see this other part of Óbidos?
Dancing took me there.
Twice… so far!
And once more…