A village from the country‟s remote inner border.
Marialva is a portuguese historic village
in the northeastern region of Mêda.
Founded as a primitive castro ( hill
fortification) by the Aravaros, one of
various pre-roman tribes of indo-
european origin who mixed with celtic
people in the iberian peninsula, the
settlement was later called Civitas
Aravorum in Roman era.
It was certainly rebuilt under Adrian e
Trajan rule, and became a crossroads
point in the main Via Imperialis , the
roman road from Guarda to Numão.
Aravor means „hill‟ in the celtic language.
Marialva was then “The town on a hill”.
It developped as a strategic stronghold and an important medieval market town,
having its golden years during the 12th-13th centuries; for that contributed the
arrival of jew families who established their residence and developped trade.
Population: ~ 250
Coordinates: 40 54' N, 7 14' W
The old Citadel inside the
walls is clearly apart from
the outside medieval urban
area – the Arrabalde
1. The old walled citadel of Marialva
Castle and Wall
1. Door (Anjo da Guarda)
2. Door (Monte ou Porta da Forca)
3. Door (Santa Maria)
4. Wicket door
5. Watch Tower
6. Tower (Monte)
7. Tower (Relação)
9. Donjon tower
10. Water tank (Cisterna)
11. Citadel Door
12. Wicket door
13. Townhall, Court and Jail
14. Water tank (Cistern)
16, 17 - Churches
The castle, on top of a cliff, still dominates the landscape. It has the
characteristics of a Romanesque castle with its donjon isolated in the
center of a relatively small courtyard.
The broad castle walls in granite masonry enclose the medieval urb
in an irregular oval form, adapted to the ground configuration.
The Citadel consists of the Watchtower, three defensive towers, and a civil and
urban core in which there are two distinct poles:
- the Government, which includes the Pillory and the former Town Hall, the Court
and the Jail
- and the religious pole comprising two churches and a cemetery.
The stone pillory on steps, probably the best ex-libris of the historic village.
Closeby, the Cistern (Water tank) and in the background the ruins of an old
Within the old inner town, the streets are irregular and bordered by
empty spaces that were originally occupied by households.
There are two small churches and a chapel inside the walled village.
The 18th century chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The Manuelin door of
the parish Church of
The Mercy Chapel
(Capela da Misericórdia)
in mannerist style, with
an external pulpit on an
The slender and mysterious Bell
Tower of a former Templar Church
Arrabalde is a word of arabic origin meanig “suburb” or “proximity”.
Those streets were built when the village expanded outside the castle
walls, when the Arabs occupied the village, and then after their
expulsion under the rule of the first portuguese kings.
In Largo do Cruzeiro (Cross Place), near the tourist Office,
the 15th century Stone Cross on a curved-stairs pedestal, and
a 16th-century Cistern (well) for water supply to the population.
Here took place medieval games involving equestrian rush races.
The narrow street displays the contrast between the white painted
houses and the grey stone in walls and fences, while small doors
are aligned along the white façades
The street preserves the autenticity of the XVI century buildings, normally two-
storey houses with outside staircase and balcony.
The manor house of the Marquess of Marialva (17th century)
Church of St. Peter (São Pedro)
Still on this street, the Church of St. Peter, of Romanesque origin, that
presents an outdoor pulpit, a side yard with anthropomorphic graves.
Inside, an altar in carved wood and some matted mural paintings.
A typical village house of
Stone (granite) staircase
up to the entrance door in
the first floor, with a small
balcony; in the ground
floor are the cattle stables
and/or space for grain
and wood storing .
The granite bench down
by the street is a peculiar
charm. To see the world
The popular architecture of these houses is sometimes surprising.
This one is an evolutionary example: the original stairs and upstair
door were removed; a relatively large window replaces the door,
and a new entrance in a side building with a roofed balcony gives a
more refined look, and also extra storing space in the ground floor.