My first visit to Castelo de Vide was a brief stop, with a good impression, leading me to decide that, one day, I would return with time.
I did, and the good first impression was totally confirmed.
Castelo de Vide ias nice small city, plenty of history and personality, deserving a detailed visit.
The city is not big, but the most interesting area is the smaller old quarter surrounding the castle.
Here and there, it seems stopped in time, with the signs of the hidden Jewish culture, preserved at a medieval scale.
It’s step and with irregular pavement, but not too hard to walk with male shoes or by advised ladies.
When, in 1492, the catholic kings of Spain, expelled the Jews, Castelo de Vide, close to the border, was one of their favorite destinations.
Nowadays, one of the highlights of Castelo de Vide is the Jewish quarter, stretching in the steep hill of the castle.
Several buildings were restored, and the whole, though demanding some effort to visit, is very harmonious with some nice spots.
According to official tourism information:
“It is not clear when the synagogue was founded, but a Jewish quarter existed already in the 14th century in Castelo de Vide, composed by a some houses at the bottom of the castle nearby the main entrance.
The synagogue is situated in Rua da Judiaria / Rua da Fonte, the building is orientated east/ west. It is composed by one area with two floors.
Commonly called Sinagoga, the real name is BEIT-HA-MIDRASCH-SEFARDIN.
In the room intended to the cult is a tabernacle, we see holes for the lamps with Sacred Oil. At the right side is a support for Holy Scripture with seven balls on the plinth, representing the six days in which God created the World and the last one symbolizes the last day, the day for resting.
The building became a residence in the 18th century. In 1972 it was rebuild according to the primitive trace.
Beside the door to the first floor there is a little opening called the sign of the MEZUZAH, Hebrew word meaning door jambs.
In this opening was kept a holder with a little parchment where were written some words of the SHEMA, the most important prayer of the Jewish cult. All the doors are Gothic with imposts and sharp edges, logs and flutes.”
Reading from other sources we may learn that this is the oldest synagogue in Portugal, being used already in the 13th century.
D. Pedro V
The church and the pillory
Nossa Senhora da Alegria (Our Lady of Joy)
São Roque fort
Póvoa and Meadas dam
Sol Nascente – Practical
Right in the centre of Castelo de Vide, this is not exactly a restaurant, but a coffee shop that serves… meals. Light meals, but well prepared, at a good price. The esplanade, with views to the historic buildings was a very pleasant place in the hot nights spent there, and I ended there… twice.
Favorite Dish: Octopus
Address: R. Olivença 31
Other contact: Nascente
Phone: +351 245901789
Hotel Castelo de Vide
Very good price-quality ratio in this hotel, located inside the town only a few hundred meters from the centre. The hotel seems small because it is distributed in two linked buildings, separated by the pool. The room was big and comfortable and breakfast, though not outstanding was a reasonable buffet. The pool is small, but just across the street the municipal pools are wide, with discount to the hotel guests.
Address: Avenida da Europa
Phone: +351 245 908 210
Each year, a big dancing festival happens in Portugal, in August, generally trying to occupy a special wild and beautiful area, in the interior of Portugal. This time, they chose a dam close to Castelo de Vide, a really beautiful area, that they expect to use again.
Well, the landscape is really beautiful, but it was so hot and dusty, that it was difficult to stay too long, and to pop from one dancing style to the next one, in the 5 stages used during all the day.
Castelo de Vide deserves (and maybe needs) these kind of events, inviting us to forget the distances and visit it more often.
PS – In 2016 more than 400 cars were burnt in a terrible fire in the parking. That didn’t stop the organization, and Andanças continue.
Ernest Korrodi hands
One of the figures in the recent history of Leiria is the architect Ernesto Korrodi. He managed to create such a personal style that his works are automatically identified by anyone from Leiria who is minimally aware of these subjects.
It was, therefore, naturally, that in Castelo de Vide a building “told” me that Korrodi had been there.