The Castle of Santa Maria da Feira emerges as a unique gem in Portuguese military architecture, witnessing the defensive evolution from the 11th to the 16th centuries. Originating from an ancient Roman fort and strengthened during the Christian reconquest, the castle, notable for its “Tower of Homage,” preserves traces of the legacy left by D. Sancho I, later enriched under the supervision of Fernão Pereira, appointed by D. Afonso V for its restoration in 1448.
The castle’s history is intertwined with prominent figures such as Rui Vaz Pereira, the first count of Feira, and the military decline that led to its adaptation as a manorial palace in the 15th century. The historical significance culminates in the castle’s appointment to the House of Infantado in 1708, following the death of the last count.
The majestic entrance, protected by the “town gate” and its barbican, leads to the “armory square,” surrounded by the “path of the round.” The imposing “Tower of Homage,” an emblematic residence with large fireplaces, tells the residential history of the castle. Next to it, the “Well Tower” reveals a fascinating 33.5-meter deep well.
The “tenaille,” a fortification work, and the strategic “Casemate Tower,” witness adaptation to firearms in the 15th century. The western side features a defensive enclosure with effective bombards and embrasures in all directions. The charming hexagonal chapel, built in 1656, replaces an old hermitage, preserving a precious core of Ançã stone images.
The Castle of Santa Maria da Feira, beyond its grandeur, is a living testimony to centuries of history and architectural evolution, representing an indelible landmark in Portugal’s cultural landscape.