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The City of Abrantes

Abrantes is very well connected by main roads, particularly by the Lisbon – Oporto highway, and it is also highly accessible by rail, being serviced by the Beira-Baixa Line. It is a municipality that stretches for about 713.46 km²with a total of 42 436 inhabitants distributed throughout its 19 parishes.



Abrantes was founded in the mid-12th centuryfrom the need to defend the conquered territories and ensure the active life of Santarém. To better safeguard the defences, D. Afonso Henriques donated the town’s castle to the Order of Saint James of the Sword in 1173, and six years later in 1179, he granted himself the town charter. In 1385, King João I, who resided in Abrantes, left to fight in the battle of Aljubarrota.

On 13th June 1476, the countship of Abrantes was founded, a title that was heavily associated with the Almeida clan, when Lopo de Almeida, father of the first Viceroy of India, was appointed 1st Count of Abrantes by King Afonso V, his fourth cousin, in 1476. In 1506 and 1507, Princes Luís and Fernando, sons of King Manuel I, were born in Abrantes at the former Royal Palace where the king was a resident for approximately twenty years.

In 1518, D. Manuel breached the old town charter and in 1641 Abrantes was renamed Notável Vila de Abrantes for having been, after Lisbon, the first town to hail King João IV. In 1771, an important river trade was burgeoning in the region, remaining as such until the early nineteenth century. Abrantes had a vital means of development, the Tagus river, at its disposal, which allowed a diverse business to prosper. On 23rd November 1807, the town was occupied by French troops commanded by General Junot to whom Napoleon awarded the title Duke of Abrantes.

On 14th June 1916, the town of Abrantes was elevated to city status.


Living in Abrantes

Abrantes Castle/Fortress: Abrantes once had a strategic importance, namely during the Christian Reconquest (12th century) and the Peninsula War. The castle and fortress is a reminder of this historical role. It was built by the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, and was used for military purposes until the 20th century. The fortified walls now enclose the great keep and the 15th-century church of Saint Mary of the Castle, which lodges the Dom Lopo de Almeida Museum displaying archaeological finds, Moorish-style tiles, tombs and statues from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Misericórdia Church: This church displays a magnificent Renaissance portal and panels with paintings attributed to Gregório Lopes (1490-1550), the Albuquerque Family Manor, once used as a royal palace, and the ancient Church of Saint Vincent.

Sain John the Baptist Church: It dates back from the 12th century having been renovated in the 14th and 16th centuries. It has a mannerist façade, its interior is composed of three ceiling naves covered by wood panels and mannerist gold-carved altarpieces.

Saint Vincent Church: Built in the 13th century, it was totally rebuilt in the 16th century under the reign of King Sebastian. The main façade is mannerist and is incomplete. This church built in the mannerist style has three naves, nine altars and 18th-century tiling. The tile panels depicting Saint Vincent’s vessel, some renaissance altarpieces and various artifacts are of significant artistic value.

- The Castelo do Bode dam and reservoir and the Nautical Leisure Park of Aldeia do Mato provide opportunity to enjoy the river and its natural setting ideal for the practice of water sports and boating.

- Gastronomically, the region is famous for its typical cakes based on ancient recipes created by nuns namely palha de Abrantes and tigeladas, delicious specialities made with egg yolks and sugar.