A pleasant stroll around the city of Borba
Either natural or built by the human hand the heritage of Borba is very rich. In the Alentejo area, known especially for its marble, what particularly stands out in the landscape are the quarries, the vineyards, the olive groves and the orchards. They represent the main economic sectors. The white houses and the Serra d’Ossa are only two other examples of the landmarks which sculpt the landscape.
The constructed heritage is also diverse and filled with remarkable sites: the Fonte das Bicas (Bicas Fountain), the “Passos” da Via Sacra (medieval wall of the city, the “steps” of the Way of the Cross), the Convento das Servas (Servas Convent), the churches and chapels, the monument built as a homage to the battle of Montes Claros, the Convent and the Quinta do Bosque and Quinta do General, a plentiful architectonic heritage in which the use of marble is abundant in its various artistic forms.
- Castle or medieval wall of the city: Founded by the order of D. Dinis in 1302, a quadrilateral construction, with the granary door facing South, the door to Estremoz on the West side and the Torre do Relógio (Clock Tower).
- Fonte das Bicas (Bicas Fountain): The most remarkable civil monument of the village, built in white marble from Montes Claros in 1781. It has five masks and a façade divided into four pilasters decorated with chaplets and a crowned buckler from the House of Portuguese Royal Family. On the side there is a drinking basin for cattle and an old public washhouse.
- Igreja Matriz (Main Church): It was founded in 1420, but the actual building dates back to the third quarter of the sixteenth century. The architecture is sober, with modest lines of masonry. The interior has three aisles and six spans.
- Passos do Senhor: Certainly works from the 1750´s-60´s, built in a Baroque style. A square construction, sculpted in white marble: Passo dos Terceiros, Passo Alto da Praça, Passo da Rua da Aramenha and Passo da Rua Marquês de Marialva.
- Igreja do Real Convento das Servas (The church of the Convent of Servas): A temple from the sixteenth century, one of the biggest monasteries in the country. As the Franciscan rule determined, it has doors for the public on the sides, at the centre of the building. The interior is illuminated by only two windows and two doors. It has one rectangular aisle, covered by an altar decorated with polychrome tiles.
- Annexed to the church of the Real Convento (Convent) das Servas, the Capela de Senhor Jesus dos Aflitos (Chapel): Founded in 1676 built with the Baroque architecture style. Its façade is completely covered with marble checked mosaics in dark and lighter colours. It bears the image of S. Francisco de Assis. The building has a rectangular shape and a round circular roof. There are eight elevated niches covered with glass with the images of the honorary members of the brotherhood.
- Manors and palaces: Numerous buildings with several floors and beautifully decorated windows with iron grids: Casa Nobre dos Morgados Cardosos, Quinta do General, Palácio dos Fidalgos Silveira Menezes, Solar dos Fidalgos Sousa Carvalho Melo, Palácio da Família Alvarez, Palacete do Dr. Bustorff Silva, and so forth.
- The National Monument of Montes Claros eradicated in the seventeenth century to celebrate the glorious victory in the battle bearing the same name, Montes Claros. It is made of white marble and has a Doric column bearing the symbol of the royal crown.
- Ermidas (Chapels): Ermida de São Gregório (Saint Gregory Chapel, sixteenth century), Ermida de Nª S.ª de Guadalupe (Nª Sr.ª de Guadalupe Chapel, sixth century), Ermida de São Lourenço (Saint Lorence Chapel, before the seventeenth century), Ermida de Santo António (Saint Anthony Chapel, eighteenth century), etc.
Other points of interest:
- The landscape of the region is filled with numerous marble quarries in various types and colours.
- An old tradition in the region: Antiques and antiquities.
- The manufacturers of cheese and sausages, be it family businesses or more industrialised companies, continue to defend and promote the traditional flavours and recipes.
The regional gastronomy is very diverse and can be characterised by strong traditional flavours: “migas” (mix of bread and tomatoes), “açordas” (a mix of meat, fish or seafood, bread and eggs), “ensopado de Borrego” (lamb stew), “gaspacho” (gazpacho, cold vegetable soup, mostly tomatoes), “sopa de cação” (monkfish soup), sausages, cheeses and traditional pastry and desserts.
For further information please visit: www.cm-borba.pt