Moura is a typical peaceful Alentejo village, with a strong Moorish legacy (Moura litteraly means “Moorish maiden”). Situated in the river Guadiana left riverbank, and by the huge Alqueva Reservoir, Moura is characterized by its bright white houses and picturesque chimneys, and is surrounded by olive and cork-oak groves and undulating hills, producing some prestige wines. This is a region with human occupation vestiges since remote periods, already named by the Romans as “Arucci” or “Civitas Aruccitana Nova” and by the Muslims as “Al-Manijah”. Moura was conquered by the Portuguese troops in 1295.
Moura is situated nearby the border with Spain, therefore since early times it was fortified with goof defensive structures that was able to preserve all over the centuries. Nevertheless, in 1709 they were destroyed by the Spanish. The history of Moura is parallel to its 13th century Castle’s and to its Moorish quarter, with a traditional Moorish typology that has been able to survive the passage of time. The religious influence is also quite visible throughout the village in the São João Baptista, São Pedro and Santo Agostinho Church or in the Carmo and in the São Francisco Convents. Other monuments are quite interesting in Moura, like the “Edifício dos Quartéis” with a lovaly church, or the Municipal Museum that houses a goof archaeological collection.
The typical Alentejo’s Gastronomy is one of the most important heritage in the village, where several traditional dishes are served, like the bread-based “Gaspacho”, “Açorda”, “Migas” with pork or lamb, all hand out with the perfect Alentejo wine.
The Legend of the Salúquia, the Moorish maiden
During the Moorish occupation of the village, it is said that the princess Salúquia, the daughter of the Muslim governor Abu Hassan, was engaged to be married to Bráfama, the young commander of a town named “Aroche“, who had set forth to fight the Portuguese Christian troops. The day before the wedding Bráfama and his companions were ambushed and he was killed by the Christians, who were advancing upon the town and preparing to conquer it. They disguised in Bráfama and his companions clothes, and tricked the ones inside the castle and also the princess, who allowed to open the Castle gates, letting them in. And so the Christians conquered the Castle. Once Salúquia realised that she had been deceived, she threw herself from the high tower and died. Touched by the love story, the Conquerors of the village renamed it to “Terra da Moura Salúquia” (“Moorish Salúquia Land“), and even nowadays, the olive grove where the moors were, supposedly ambushed is called “Bráfama de Aroche” (“Bráfama from Aroche”).