Exploring Portugal: Alentejo and Beja

Beja is the administrative centre for Southern Alentejo and it was administration that took us there today. Mr P had to renew one of his residence permits — there are several — so he could renew his driving licence.

Beja has been a strategically valuable population centre since Celtic times. It was named Pax Julia by Julius Caesar in 48 BC. Emperor Augustus renamed the thriving town “Pax Augusta”. Next to take over the region were the Visigoths, the town then fell to the invading Umayyad army in 713. This was the start of approximately 1000 years of warring between Christians, Muslims and the Moors. The inhabitants of the city have been massacred and the buildings razed to the ground more than once in it violent history. In spite of all this destruction and reconstruction it retains a certain historic charm.

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