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NORTHERN PORTUGAL - PONTE DE LIMA

Ponte de Lima is 25 km. east of Viana do Castelo. The town is named after the bridge which crosses the River Lima into the town. This historical bridge has 24 arches of which four, on the south bank, are the original roman construction. Ponte de Lima Roman bridge

The town is overlooked by watch towers, built in the fourteenth century which, together with the whitewashed houses make it an attractive town. Some women still go down to the river to wash their clothes and hang them out on the river banks to dry. 

The are many magnificent palaces and manor houses in the town and surrounding area of which a large number now receive house guests. This is an acceptable method of partially opening the houses to the public in return for state aid for restoration of the houses.  They have all been beautifully restored and add character and beauty to the area. In many cases the titles of the owners are older than the nation itself.

Since 1125 a traditional market has been held on the sands at the bank of the river Lima on alternate Mondays. Here you can buy embroided linen, tin lamps, carved wooden furniture, blankets rugs and wickerwork, all of which is made locally. 

The local co-operative produces one of the best 'Vinho Verde' wines. These are naturally slightly sparkling and continue a tradition brought to the area by the romans. Unfortunately the wine does not travel well and if returning home by air, you must consume plenty before you leave!
Ponte de Lima Square
In June there is a tradition, over three hundred years old, of parading a bull through the town and on the beach. It is tethered by ropes held by 16 men but it always seems to be almost out of control. 

In September, the 'New Fairs' dating from the 12th Century are held. This is a local festival dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows but full of merrymaking, singing, folk dancing, colourful processions and the market. 

The town is slowly providing facilities for the tourist and now there is a new golf course in the beautiful Lima Valley. 

The tourist office considers the following worth visiting: 

The Parish Church (Igreja Matriz) 
Ponte de Lima Matriz Church
Built under orders given by King D. Joao in 1425 who also ordered the government to provide the finance. It was restored and enlarged during he reigns of King Duarte and King Alfonso VI. 

The Municipal Library (Biblioteca Municipal) 
This formerly was two building and the Old Prison tower which form a small square in which there is an 18th Century statue of a woman with a water jug. The prison tower has three separate entrances.  One is on the ground floor and the second on the first floor with the entrance from the old walls. The third entrance is at the higher level which is reached by external stairs.

As this small prison did not have a chapel a local benefactor built a small chapel nearby with the altar being visible from the prison window. 

Medieval bridge
Dating from 1386 it is thought that it originally had twin towers at each end. The wall was lined with crenels to enable it to be defended.

Since it is only 4 metres in width it is now only used for pedestrians.
 


Accommodation in the area

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