#106 Castelo de Almourol
Constânza, Rebatejo, Portugal
1160-1171 plus restorations
This is NOT an official Lego site

This 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.
The 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 the island.
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.
The outer courtyard with building foundations
The door to the inner castle
Inside that door with stairway
to the battlements
Battlements and
Floor Plan


Photos of the Lego Model
under construction
The island in the middle of
Rio Teja takes shape.
The shape of the pentagonal castle
can just be made out.
By December 14 the island is beginning to look
like an island.
The castle outline is now
atop the island.
The view from the inner bailey side
the motte augmenting the island's
natural terrain.
The towers and outer curtain are
almost complete...
...and look pretty forbodding when
viewed from the river.
Three Moorish soldiers approach
the castle - their business
hopefully friendly.


Photos 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.
The castle was finished at
4:35 pm on December 31 -
less than 1½ hours before our
New Years Eve party began.
Since the river flows basically east-west
at Constânza and Abrantes, I decided the
taller inner ward curtain was the north
side of the castle.
The east view nicely shows
the difference in the outer
land inner curtain heights.
The castle 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
Travelling from the outer to inner
gate means a continual barrage
from above for intruders!
The inner gate can be
protected from 3 sides.
The inner courtyard probably
contained a dining hall where
there are only foundations today.


Build Your Own
Lego Plan
Front Elevation
Back Elevation

Other Castelo de Almourol pages:

Return to the main castle page.

Castles created by Robert Carney
Page designed & maintained by
Robert Carney