Inserted into the wild landscape which surrounds the Côa River, the village of Castelo Mendo was, throughout the middle ages, a vastly important urban centre because it was close to the border and had excellent defence characteristics at the time gained its independence. It has been occupied since the Bronze Age and there are traces of an old Roman village. However, it was during the time of the Christian Reconquista, that Castelo Mendo, like other villages near the border, gained more importance because of its strategic role in defending the Riba-Côa border against the neighbouring realms of Léon and Castile.
King Sancho II gave the decisive step which would transform the raiano village by granting it a charter and creating the free street market which was held three times a year and helped developing Castelo Mendo economically and, thus, lead to an increase in its population. At the same time, the monarch might have ordered a stronghold to be built in order to protect this medieval village.
During the reign of King D. Dinis, Castelo Mendo had an important role in defending the border, which led the King to build another wall surrounding the first medieval stronghold of the village. Latter, when the Alcanizes Treaty permanently established the borders of the realm, the village progressively lost its importance.
Nowadays, Castelo Mendo still has its old borders and its walls are full of historical memories: houses with Manueline windows and big balconies. Visit this cosy medieval village which is ready to welcome you.
In Castelo Mendo, you should visit:
- The castle;
- The Temple and Senses Museum;
- Saint Vincent and Saint Peter Churches;
- The building which used to be the Jail, Court and the Town Hall and nowadays is the Tourist Office;
- The “Mendo” and “Menda”;
- The Berrões Door, which has two Celtic boars.
- The building of the old Charity House (Misericórdia);
- The medieval fair.