Valenca do Minho is a historical town in the North of Portugal, located on the border with Spain, with only the lovely Minho river separating it from its neighboroughing country. The town is surrounded by defensive walls, showing its ancient defensive facet.
The impressive fortress with two towers and double walls, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, continues to be the focal point of the town. Within the fortification, four gates: the Porta do Santiago (or Porta do Sol), Porta de Gaviana (a Gothic arch), Porta da Fonte da Vila and Porta da Coroada and twelve ramparts built at different times have been preserved.
Valenca was of extreme significance during the Middle Ages, benefiting from a hilltop position with a privileged view over the border line. It was beleaguered several times by Spain.
This stronghold was populated by order of King Sancho I during the 12th century. It was called Contrasta which means a 'village opposite another one', clearly refering to its position across the river from the town of Tui in Spain. It played a decisive role in the defense and integrity of Portugal from the attacks of neighbouring Spain.
Valenca was also a passage for the Way of St. James on the way to Santiago de Compostela. Today, Valenca is peacefully invaded by the Spanish as the town is full of small shops selling items, particularly textiles, of interest to their Spanish neighbours.
The fortress is nowadays home to the luxury Pousada of Valenca - Sao Teotonio, with magnificent views of the hills, river plains and the border towns of Spain and Portugal.
Many monuments enrich the already beautiful Valenca and several typical manor houses illustrate the town's economic significance throughout the centuries.
Below are some places of interest:
The old international bridge
Church of Saint Stephen
Church of Saint Mary of Angels
Statue of Sao Teotonio