Santiago do Cacem is Portugals second biggest municipality, dating back to prehistoric times. The city is made up of two parts: the old city with the castle constructed on the slopes of the hill top and the new settlement around the market place situated at the foot of the castle hill. The Castle and its joined Igreja Matriz (church) are both national monuments forming the heart of the historic centre. Of Arab origin the majestic castle was completely reconstructed by the Christians in the 12th century. Bonded to the nowadays remaining castle walls is the Igreja Matriz which dates back to the 8th century. Walk around the castle walls and absorb the beautiful view over the city of Santiago do Cacem and the coastline of the Costa Vincentina. On a clear day the view can reach from the Lagoon of Santo Andre all the way up to Setubals Serra Arabida.
Start the visit to the castle at the bottom of the hill and make your way up the steep and narrow streets winding down the eastern slopes of the castle. The streets are lined with old “ palacetes” and houses dating back historically to 1301, including the old fire station and the garage of the first car to drive the streets of Santiago do Cacem.The interesting harmonious architectural ensemble includes a pillary dated back to 1845 in the middle of the Conde de Barcial Square.
At the foot of the Castle hill stands the old prison now transformed into the cities municipal museum, displaying a collection of archeological artifacts found in and around Miróbriga. The museum also disposes of an ethnographic section depicting scenes from a 19th century typical Alentejan housing.