|Distance from the Quinta||14 Km|
Portalegre is the commercial city in the region with a population of close to 17,000 people. The manufacture of tapestries first made Portalegre famous and wealthy in the 16th and 17th centuries. There are several handsome buildings remaining from this period.
Portalegre was once a walled town with a castle, twelve towers and eight gateways. The castle is now a ruin and only some of the wall and three of the gateways still exist. However the castle is undergoing restoration at present.
Portalegre has a new theatre hosting jazz evenings, visiting orchestras, dance and drama.
The cathedral which stands in the Praca do Municipio dates from 1556 and exhibits some beautiful tile panels and paintings. Close by the Municipal Museum has a wonderful collection of Portuguese ceramics and religious artefacts and the Tapestry Museum gives you a chance to learn about the methods, materials and tools used to make the world famous tapestries. Tapestries are still made in Portalegre today.
Two large chimneys dominate the town these are part of the cork factory which was set up by George Robinson from Halifax, England in the 19th century. Portugal is the worlds biggest producer of natural cork and Alentejo is one of the main areas where cork oak is harvested. It is possible to have a guided tour of the cork factory and there is also a shop selling products made of cork which is open to the public.
Across from the cork factory is the Casa de Poeta Jose Regio a museum devoted to the work of a well known Portuguese writer who spent part of his life in the town and accumulated a large collection of wooden crucifixes and interesting items of Alentejo craftwork.