With a history that
dates back to Roman times, the stories that the city has
to tell are both colorful and entrancing. Under Julius
Caesar, Beja became a regional capitol in his vast and
glorious empire. From the cobbled streets and Moorish
architecture to the Castle that overlooks the city’s
prolific farmlands, the story of Beja that reveals
itself is one of endurance, refinement, and strength.
The city has survived and thrived when other cities have
become the stuff of legends and lost civilizations.
The highlight of visiting
Beja is touring the historically unique structures and
points of interest and experiencing a sense of time
reversing itself in a region that has not forgotten its
past. The most prominent historical structure in Beja is a
building known simply as The Castle. Standing over Roman
Fortifications, the castle was built in 1310 and remodeled
in the 16th century. The imposing Torre de Menagem, with
its battlements and tower have become the symbol of the
city of Beja. A tour of the majestic castle is not
complete without traipsing up the swirling spiral
staircase to survey the unequaled view of the ancient city
from the uppermost floor of the tower.
Not quite as old as the
Castle, the Church of Santo Amaro dates back to the 5th
century. At the time it was built, the Viscoths were still
settling in the region and because it is a quintessential
example of Paleo-Christian architecture in Portugal, it is
home to the Beja Regional Museums Viscoth exhibit.
A little way down the
road from Beja is Pzoes. Here lies the ruins of a
magnificent Roman villa. Dating back to somewhere between
the 1st and 4th century, this well preserved landmark is a
marvel to behold. Visitors may admire where the grand
halls once stood and wonder at the genius that created the
ancient bathhouses complete with an elaborate system for
heating the water of its many pools.
Once you have spent the
day touring through the many architectural and historic
relics that can be found in Beja, it is time to remind
yourself that the past isn’t the only appealing aspect of
life in this city. With its comfortable pubs and eclectic
bars, you are sure to find a relaxing place to sit back
and wind down after a day of hiking through the quaint
cobblestone streets of Beja. As you enjoy the wide array
of live music and excellent cuisine, you can be sure of
one thing. Beja is a place that is unwaveringly proud of
its past but also knows enough to celebrate its future.