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things to do Estremoz

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Due to its geographical position bordering Spain, and the animosity that existed between the two countries down the years, it seems that just about every town and village in the Alentejo has some kind of defensive remnants—and Juromenha right on the banks of the Guadiana River that divides Portugal and Spain is a fine example.

Once an important powerhouse, the fortress at Juromenha looks out across the peaceful river and beyond to the plains of Olivenza in Spain. Today, left in ruins, it is a shadow of it’s former self and when you visit it is hard to believe that it once played such an important role in the on going skirmishes with the Spanish.

I own a copy of a lovely coffee table book called ‘As Mais Belas Vilas e Aldeias de Portugal’ (Portugal’s Most Beautiful Towns and Villages), which I bought way back in the 1980s—and even though I have moved country a couple of times in the interim, I still have the book with me.

One of the most intriguing places that always stood out for me was the village of Pavia, in the Alentejo, and it makes sense that it was one of the first places that I wanted to visit when we moved here in 2020.

According to a report from CNN, those interested in stargazing in the Alentejo may be in for a treat this Christmas as the planets of Jupiter and Saturn will appear to be almost touching—something that hasn’t occurred since the year 1226!

The two planets, the largest in our solar system, will best be visible on the night of the winter solstice – December 21 – when they should look like a ‘double planet’, and the closer you live to the Equator the better you will see them.

As our first Christmas in Estremoz approaches, and because of Covid-19 it is under very strange circumstances, we are pleased to see that there will be some festive cellebrations still taking place.

One of these is the 14th Exhibition of Nativity Scenes (XIV Exposição de Presépios de Estremoz) that showcases works by local artisans and is open to the public at Galeria D. Dinis from December 5 2020.

On Sunday June 7th Estremoz and the whole of Portugal witnessed one of the most anticipated moments of the year—the presentation of the winner of ‘Got Talent Portugal’ 2020, and to say that Estremoz was probably the proudest town in Portugal is an understatement. Two young men from our town won the main prize and proved that Estremoz is not only rich in natural beauty and vineyards, but also in talented people.