Torres Novas celebrates its medieval festival in early May (5-8 May in 2011), when the ancient city comes alive with a mixture of European and Arabic culture – remembering the time when the Arab-occupied city was liberated by the first king of Portugal – Dom Afonso Henriques.

The city grew up around its castle, which went almost to ruin in the 12th century before being rebuilt in 1190 by Sancho I and then further developed by Ferdinand I.

The 2011 medieval festival celebrates the time when King D Duarte died in 1438, leaving the six-year-old crown prince as the prime heir. This sparked a time of great dispute which almost spilled over into civil war, and Torres Novas was a key location at that time.

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