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Vidigueira

Vidigueira
Place: Vidigueira
Vidigueira
The existence of a settlement here has only been documented since the thirteenth century. However, there is evidence of the human occupation of this region since prehistoric times. In addition to the megalithic heritage to be found here, attention is also drawn to the nearby Roman villas of São Cucufate and Monte da Cegonha.

Without any great strategic importance in either defensive or military terms, this town´s development took place along essentially agricultural lines. This fact is easily proved by its wine production, since Vidigueira is also the name given to a Region of Controlled Origin. Its fame as a wine-producing centre already existed in the fifteenth century and, in the nineteenth century, it was the seventh most productive region.

The name of Vidigueira is also linked to the historical figure of Vasco da Gama, to whom D. Manuel I (1495-1521) gave the title of the Count of Vidigueira in 1519. The Casa da Vidigueira, founded at that time by Vasco da Gama, remained in the same family until the twentieth century. The town's clock tower strikes the hour with a bell carved with the Cross of the Order of Christ and the arms of the Gama family, together with the date: 1520.

Yet another memory of Vasco da Gama is evoked roughly 2 kilometres from Vidigueira. It was in the chancel of the convent church of Nossa Senhora das Relíquias (now greatly altered in its original design) that the mortal remains of the discoverer of the sea route to India were first laid to rest when they were brought back from Cochim in 1539, until his body was finally transferred to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in 1898.


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