Alvito, Portugal

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Alvito
Municipality
Flag of Alvito
Flag
Coat of arms of Alvito
Coat of arms
Location in Portugal
Location in Portugal
Coordinates: 38°15′N 7°59′W / 38.250°N 7.983°W / 38.250; -7.983Coordinates: 38°15′N 7°59′W / 38.250°N 7.983°W / 38.250; -7.983
Country  Portugal
Region Alentejo
Subregion Baixo Alentejo
District/A.R. Beja
Government
 • Mayor António Valério (Ind.)
Area
 • Total 264.8 km2 (102.2 sq mi)
Population
 • Total 2,708
 • Density 10/km2 (30/sq mi)
Parishes (no.) 2
Municipal holiday Ascension Day
date varies
Website http://www.cm-alvito.pt

Alvito (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐɫˈvitu]) is a town and a municipality in Beja District in Portugal with a total area of 264.8 km² and a total population of 2,708 inhabitants.

The current mayor is António João Feio Valério.

History[edit]

Castle of Alvito

The Alvito region has been inhabited since the Neolithic, and during the period of Roman domination several villae were established nearby, later occupied by Visigoths and Moors. During the Reconquista, Alvito was conquered by the Portuguese in 1234, being later (1251) donated by King Afonso III to Estêvão Anes, chancellor of the kingdom, who promoted the settlement of the area.

The village gained a foral (letter of feudal rights) in 1280, confirmed by King Dinis I in 1283. In 1296 an annual fair was established, attesting the rapid development of the region. In 1387, King John I donated Alvito to knight Diogo Lobo in exchange for his services in the decisive Battle of Aljubarrota (1385), and in 1475 the title of Baron was granted to the rulers of Alvito.

The 15th and 16th centuries were a time of strong economic and populational development of Alvito, which reached 1700 inhabitants in 1527. The Castle of Alvito was rebuilt between 1494 and 1504, and its architecture and decoration show an interesting mix of Manueline (Portuguese late Gothic) and Mudéjar (Arab-influenced) styles, typical of the Alentejo region. Also the main church (matriz) of Alvito, in a mix of Manueline and early Renaissance styles, dates from the early 16th century.

After the 18th century, Alvito faced an economic stagnation that continued until the 20th century, and it now bets on its touristic potential. In 1993, the Castle of Alvito was turned into a luxury hotel of the Pousadas de Portugal brand.

Parishes[edit]

View of a street in Alvito. The yellow building in the background is the main church (matriz) of the village.

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 2 civil parishes (freguesias):[1]

  • Alvito
  • Vila Nova da Baronia

Cities and towns[edit]

The municipality includes one town:

  • Alvito

Demographics[edit]

Year Population
1801 1079
1849 4569
1900 3065
1930 4556
1960 4850
1981 2968
1991 2650
2001 2688
2004 2708

International relations[edit]

Alvito is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, page 552 13" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 16 July 2014. 

External links[edit]