- Written by Martin Northey
I visited Óbidos in 2004 on the same trip that I visited Batalha and Alcobaça, this was a three day trip on my motorbike from the Algarve. The first day I rode up to Batalha more or less non stop, and at the end of that day went to Alcobaça where I camped in the camp site. The next morning I saw round Alcobaça and then rode on down to Obidos.
Obidos is 82 kilometers north of Lisbon and just a little inland from Peniche. When I arrived I parked my motorbike in the car park outside the castle which is built as a part of the fortified city wall and is now a Pousada. Walking through the entrance here I walked into the town. As with many other towns in Portugal, Óbidos is totally unspoilt by any modern buildings, consisting of a maize of narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful white painted houses with terracotta tiled roofs. Adding colour to the streets there is a profusion of bougainvillea and morning glory climbing up the walls of many of the houses.
To see a google map of the area click here, you will find Óbidos in the centre of the map.
There was a Roman town of Eburobrittium very close to the town as archaeological excavations have recently uncovered baths, a forum and other buildings close to the river. This town was probably abandoned when the Romans left Portugal in the 5th century. There has been no evidence discovered of the Visigoths having had a settlement here, but if they did have one here they would have chosen the present hill top site for their town as it would have been easier to defend. The Moors however did settle here in about 720 and built their fortified town on the present site. The very impressive keep was built by King Fernando 1st in the late 14th century. The entire town is surrounded by a defensive wall which originally built by the Moors and improved in the 14th century.
Óbidos was taken from the Moors by the first King of Portugal Afonso Henriques in 1148. In 1210 King Afonso II gave the town to his wife Queen Urraca and since that time has traditionally belonged to the Queens of Portugal. King Afonso V's marriage took place here on August 15th 1441 in the church of Santa Maria.
Óbidos has become well know for it's Festival of Opera in August and also an International Chocolate Festival which in 2008 will be from February 14th to 28th. For more information on Óbidos go to the towns excellent web site www.cm-obidos.pt/.
There isn't much more to say, except that I hope you enjoy looking at my photographs almost as much as I did wandering round the town taking them. Perhaps having seen these photographs you will make time sometime to go and see this beautiful historic city for yourself.
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