Entering Trancoso is an impressive experience because of its large walls, which open to form the old gate known as the Porta d’El Rei. Inside, what catches the eye is the colour of stone that predominates in the town’s historic centre and its main monuments: the pillory, the castle and the Igreja de São Pedro. The medieval gate was built in homage to the king Dom Dinis, who married Isabel of Aragon in Trancoso in 1282. He gave the town to the queen and set up a fair that was exempt from the payment of taxes. This lies at the origin of the great Fair that is held here every year from August 15 onwards.
The houses inhabited by the Jews who settled here in the 15th century can be identified by their two doors, one of which is wider and was used for trading purposes, whilst the narrower one was used as a domestic entrance.
The Casa do Gato Negro (in Largo Luís de Albuquerque), the former synagogue and rabbi’s residence, is one of the most emblematic examples of this phenomenon.
One of Trancoso’s best-known Jews was the mysterious Bandarra (1500-45), a shoemaker and poet, who prophesied the future of Portugal and was a source of inspiration for many writers, amongst whom is the 20th-century poet Fernando Pessoa.