What do you want to be when you grow up? According to my family lore, at the tender age of six, I firmly insisted on becoming a movie location scout. A bit uncommon, it still sounded less outlandish than my farther’s wish to be a border patrol dog when he would grow up. Neither of us achieved these aspirations. Yearning for new places eventually led to a nomadic life, but it was not until I stumbled across the charismatic Almourol Castle to be reminded of my childhood dream.
On a sunny afternoon, the castle is picture-perfect. At first sight, it looks like a movie set. The crew just left for lunch, so it is quiet at the moment. But there is a movement up in the tower. Who is there? Princess Fiona or Rapunzel? Or, perhaps, some newcoming beauty from a future Hollywood blockbuster? The enchanted word envelops the castle. Time slows down. Welcome to a fairytale!
With all its sublime romanticism, the castle was once a force to be reckoned with. It is one of the most emblematic castles of the Christian Reconquest period in Portugal.
Situated on an island in the middle of the River Tagus, Almourol stands out from the crowd due to its historical significance and surrounding landscape. Together with the castles of Tomar, Zêzere and Cardiga, it formed the so-called Tagus Line (Linha do Tejo), the defensive line of fortifications along the River Tagus controlled by the Knights Templar.
There is little left of the original structure. It consisted of three levels, which have been altered over the centuries. The unique footprint still exists and gives an idea of the overall dimensions. The keep is actually an innovation at this castle, appearing in the 12th century after the Castle of Tomar, the principal defensive redoubt of the Templars in Portugal. Similarly, the watchtowers were innovations brought into western part of the Iberian peninsula by the Order, and applied in Almourol. The high walls were protected by the nine circular watchtowers. They have irregular shapes largely thanks to the uneven terrain where they were built. Inside, there are several stone gates that connect different parts of the castle.Read the rest of the story here.