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Photographer's Note

The Castle of Ourém in a very cold and windy day

Ourém's history confirms that it was once called Abdegas and that King Afonso Henriques reconquered it in 1136.

There are innumerable legends and traditions involving stories of enchanted Moorish maidens, such as the Moorish Maid of Fátima, who, having fallen in love with the brave Knight Templar, Gonçalo Henriques, was converted to Christianity and given the name Oureana, the origin of the present name of the town.

In 1178 the present triangular shaped castle was founded and in 1180, Ourém received its first charter from Teresa, the daughter of King Afonso Henriques becoming for the military value of its castle one of the first municipalities of Portugal.

It was in the XV century that D. Afonso, the fourth Count of Ourém, grandson of King John I, set up his court in Ourém (1422), gave the town's defence walls, built turrets, the ancient Collegiate Church as well as his royal palace.

With the damages caused by the earthquake in 1755 and the Napoleon's invasions, the old town came down into the valley to the little village of Cruz, situated in the base of the hill and in the fertile land of Seiça little river. This village was elected as municipality, in 1841 by the Queen D.Maria II, with the name Vila Nova de Ourém. To make the present city of Ourém, both villages joyned in 1989.

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