Historic Santiago

Circular Routes Stage

9 Km

This route takes us to the historical center of the city with probablythe highest historical-cultural interest of the Alentejo Coast, passing by the Roman Ruins of Miróbriga. The castle, from the Islamic period, and the mother church, from the 13th century, are both national monuments.

The village was ruled by the Moor Kassem from the 8th to the 12th century, when it was taken over by troops loyal to King Afonso Henriques. It was later donated to the Order of Santiago de Espada. The medieval town of Santiago de Kassem acquired great importance in the 13th century, and received its first Formal Charter from King Dinis I, a monarch who donated the village and castle to Vetacia Lascaris, a Greek princess responsible for the education of his daughter Constança. After the death of Vetacia, in 1336, the village returned to the ownership of the Order of Santiago.

 The quaint narrow streets are examples of common architecture of the time, but you can also find imposing manors from the time of the great feudal lords. Agriculture was based around wheat, fruits and cork, while livestock centered on horses, mules, donkeys, cattle, sheep, goats and swine. In the 19th century, the town was very prosperous. There were cork factories, sawmills and carpentries, mills, forges, workshops, ironmongers and sawmills. The village attracted lawyers, pharmacists, grocers and farm traders, and allowed cafes, cultural and recreational associations to flourish, such as “Sociedade Harmonia”, the oldest community in the country.

 The first car in Portugal, a Panhard & Levassor, arrived to the city in 1895, imported from Paris by the 4th Count of Avillez. At the beginning of the 20th century, the widowed Countess Maria Carolina, initiated the creation of the Tapada gardens between the palace and the castle barbican wall, intending to combine a botanical garden with a park of romantic inspiration. The Condes’ Tapada, which is now a public park, includes curious buildings such as St. Jorge’s Chapel and a Tea House with a Neo-Manueline portal and a neo-Gothic greenhouse, which is now in ruins.

 The route crosses the ruins of the Roman city of Miróbriga, abandoned in the 5th century AD. These ruins include dwellings, a hippodrome, thermal baths, a forum, multiple temples and a bridge. Well-preserved Roman cities are not common in Portugal, which makes Miróbriga a special archaeological station. You can see the sophistication of the bath system, with public bathrooms each at different temperatures. The forum and the commercial area are also both well preserved, with several shops and a tavern.

Where to start

Santiago do Cacém
On the road of the urban park Ria da Figueira, next to the municipal swimming pools.

 

Datasheet

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Average

Extension: 9KM
Approximate duration: 3 h 30hours

Accumulated ascent: 0M
Accumulated descent: 300M

Maximum ALTITUDE: 260M
Minimum ALTITUDE: 150M

RECOMMENDED Season: September till June

Rules and Recommendations

THE CIRCULATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES PUTS WALKERS AT RISK

AVOID DOING THE HISTORICAL WAY ON A MOTOR CYCLE OR IN A JEEP, LOOK INTO OTHER OPTIONS

DO NOT LIGHT FIRES

SEVERAL FARMS AND CATTLE HERDS ARE PROTECTED BY GUARD DOGS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION

BE CAUTIOUS WITH CATTLE. ALTHOUGH GENTLE, THEY DO NOT LIKE STRANGERS APPROACHING THEIR CALVES

THESE TRAILS PASS BY PRIVATE PROPERTY. RESPECT IT AND CLOSE GATES AND FENCES YOU WILL FIND ON THE WAY

THERE ARE VERY FEW SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE TRAILS. BRING WATER AND FOOD SUPPLIES WITH YOU.

IN SOME PARTS OF THE TRAILS YOU WILL HAVE TO CROSS PAVED ROADS. BE CAREFUL!

YOU WILL FIND SEVERAL LOCATIONS IDEAL FOR PICNICS. DO NOT, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LEAVE TRASH BEHIND

BE FRIENDLY WITH THE LOCALS, TELL THEM WHY YOU’RE THERE AND SHARE EXPERIENCES.

Tips

Next to the mother church, take a stroll around the castle and visit the Tapada.

The Miróbriga Ruins visiting hours
► From Tuesday to Sunday, 9 to 12 am and from 2 to 5.30 pm;
► Closes on Mondays and holidays.

Warnings

Stay on the lookout for the white, red and yellow markings on the Circular Routes that run together with the Historical Way, as well as the signage marked with yellow and red for Circular Routes.

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