#106 Castelo de
Constânza, Rebatejo, Portugal
1160-1171 plus restorations
This is NOT an official Lego site
beautiful fortress is situated on a small island in the
Rio Teja [Tagus River] in the province of Ribatejo
upriver from the Portuguese capital of Lisboa. The island
measures just 250 by 1000 feet (75 by 310M). It is
thought that the first occupants of the strategic site
were the ancient occupants of Portugal, the Lusitanians.
The Romans held the island during their heyday, followed
by the Vandals, and Gothic Christians. In the early 8th
century the Iberian Peninsula was overrun by the Omayyad
Moslems, with the area part of the Caliphate of Cordova.
The Moors of Almoravid are said to have built the first
castle on the island, called Almorolan ("high rock"
in Arabic). Meanwhile just a few years into the second
millenium, the nation of Portugal was beginning to
materialize, centered at Guimarães on the Rio Douro. In
1129 the Moorish castle was conquered by the 17 year old
Dom Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal.
capital of Portugal was established at Coimbra on the Rio
Mondego. The castle, which guarded a strategic river
crossing, was given by the King to the Portuguese branch
of the Knights Templar, who were trusted with control of
north central Portugal from the Mondego to the Tagus
River. In 1160 Gualdim Pais, Master of the Order of the
Temple, decided to expand the Moorish fort, and over the
next 11 years the Castle of Almourol took the basic form
which we see today, dominated by the Torre de Menagem.
The Templars held the castle until 1311, when they
apparently became extinct. The castle lost its importance
and gradually fell into ruin. When it became the property
of the state in 1910, several restorations took place.
While Roman coins and many medieval relics have been
found on the island, there has never been a sign of the
fabled treasure of the Templars reputed to be hidden on
|Two legends involve Almourol. Early in the 12th century, the lord of Almorolan was an Arab emir named Almorolon. The emir's beautiful daughter fell in love with a Christian knight. She began to sneak him into the castle every night so they could spend time together. The knight was just using the poor girl, and one night opened to gate to his fellow knights, who captured the castle. Almorolon and his heart-broken daughter embraced and threw themselves from the parapets into the river below. The second legend is that of Donna Beatriz and the Moor. Beatriz was the daughter of the cruel Visigoth warrior, Dom Ramiro, in the 9th or 10th century. He killed a Moorish woman and her daughter over a cup of water, and soon captured an 11 year old Moorish boy, who unknown to Dom Ramiro was the son and brother of the murdered women. The boy became the page of Dom Ramiro at Almourol, where he lived with his wife and daughter Beatriz. The revengeful boy slowly poisoned the don's wife until she died. While Dom Ramiro was off at war, the girl and her page fell in love despite themselves and the Moor's desire for revenge vanished. However Dom Ramiro soon returned, bringing with him a knight to who he had promised Beatriz. The Moor told Beatriz of her father's cruelty - and about his own murder of her mother. The young couple vanished, fate unknown and Dom Ramiro died of remorse. It is said that on some nights with a full moon you can see the Moor hugging Donna Beatriz, with Dom Ramiro kneeling at their feet, imploring their forgiveness.|
courtyard with building foundations
to the inner castle
that door with stairway
to the battlements
of the Lego Model
in the middle of
Rio Teja takes shape.
of the pentagonal castle
can just be made out.
December 14 the island is beginning to look
like an island.
outline is now
atop the island.
from the inner bailey side
the motte augmenting the island's
and outer curtain are
look pretty forbodding when
viewed from the river.
Moorish soldiers approach
the castle - their business
of the Lego Model
Built December 2005
My thanks to Ana and Ron Sellars of Phoenix, Arizona for all their assistance
with this project! Ron provided photographs from their visit, and Ana, who is
Portuguese-American, was kind enough to translate the legends of Almourol
and also located and sent the plan for the castle.
was finished at
4:35 pm on December 31 -
less than 1½ hours before our
New Years Eve party began.
river flows basically east-west
at Constânza and Abrantes, I decided the
taller inner ward curtain was the north
side of the castle.
view nicely shows
the difference in the outer
land inner curtain heights.
can best be appreciated,
however, from the south. Almourol
is a beautiful defensive structure.
|Here is an
attempt to show the
from the visitor's approach by
from the outer to inner
gate means a continual barrage
from above for intruders!
gate can be
protected from 3 sides.
contained a dining hall where
there are only foundations today.
Other Castelo de Almourol pages:
Return to the
Castles created by
Page designed & maintained by Robert Carney