At Beira Baixa, just a few miles away from Spain, there is a typical village which spreads through the mountain slope. Its privileged defensive position might have been one of the reasons why a Neolithic village was first built, then turned into a Lusitanian hill fort and then into a Roman village. But perhaps the fact that there was unexplored gold in the Pônsul riverbed might also have been attractive. Nowadays, the main attractions for those who visit Penha Garcia are, without a doubt, the stunning views surrounding the town and the History of this place. Come and discover this land full of legends and traditions with all the charm of Beira Baixa.
Possibly built during the reign of King Sancho I to help protecting the Portuguese border against the attacks from Léon, the Penha Garcia castle was given by King D. Dinis to the Knights Templar over one hundred years later, returning to the possession of the crown during the 15th century after religious orders were extinct.
It is worth your while to climb to the top of penha, stroll through its majestic walls and observe the stunning landscape which surrounds the town. Stones tell us about the legend of the old commander of the castle, D. Garcia, whose ghost supposedly wonders through this place. After he kidnapped the daughter of the Monsanto governor, D. Branca, this nobleman might have been captured and condemned to death. But D. Branca’s appeals for mercy might have reduced his sentence. Condemned to have his arm cut off, D. Garcia is still known today as “the Butchered”.
If men have left their mark in Penha Garcia, the same can be said for Nature. One of the town’s greatest treasures can be found in its 490 million year quartzite rocks. At the time when all continents were united around the South Pole, the oceans were inhabited by invertebrates which moved around clayey-sandy subtracts, leaving their marks behind. People call these marks painted snakes while scientists call them trace fossils. They have been preserved in sedimentary rocks and can still be seen today in Penha Garcia. People from Penha Garcia have been used to their presence for a long time, but investigators continue to study them as they consider them to be a very important contribution to scientific knowledge of a million year past.