Villages

Castle and walls - AHP Sortelha

Sortelha

Sortelha

The castle was classified as a National Monument in 1910. Its location gave it command over the valley. There may have been a pre-Roman fort here. In the Middle Ages, the area was repopulated in the 12th century under King Sancho I. In 1228 King Sancho II granted it a charter and that was when the castle was built. It is a Romanesque-Gothic rock castle with some Manueline features. The technique used for the walls was to build two strong parallel walls, which were then filled with rocks and gravel. The citadel is outside, to the south of the walled perimeter, with a square donjon in the centre of the enclosure. It has a single opening to the south (portal with a round arch), three loopholes and square merlons. It has two gates: Castle Gate and Falsa Gate The first has a balcony with a machicolation next to the coat of arms of King Manuel I with armillary spheres This balcony is traditionally named after Pilate. The town’s walled perimeter is an irregular oval in shape. In several places the walls sit directly on the rocky outcrops and have no merlons. They have four gates: Town Gate, Nova Gate and two False Gates, one next to the castle. There is another tower, the square Facho Tower with no windows. The castle’s particularities include the absence of merlons in the walls, the circular turret over the battlements, gates with ogival and round arches and a standard medieval measure on the Nova Gate. The king had these measures put there. They were used in the fairs held there. In the Modern Age (17th and 18th centuries) the surroundings of the village began to develop, initially by the road to Sabugal. They later spread further and began to move away from the walls. The buildings were not close to the walled enclosure and consisted mostly of manors. Napoleon’s troops passed through Sortelha and blew up part of the castle wall during the battle. If we stand in Largo do Corro facing the Town Gate we can see part of the wall that was recently rebuilt to the left. The national monument was recently refurbished by Aldeias Históricas de Portugal.