All that Remains of Castelo Arraiolos is the Massive Medieval Fortress Wall:
One of the reminders of Arraiolos’s foundation is the massive medieval fortress wall which sits on Monte de San Pedro, a hill north of the present town of Arraiolos. Castelo Arraiolos was built by order of King D. Dinis, but the site itself is believed to have been a prehistoric settlement dating to 300BC.
The Arraiolos castle dominates over the town of Arraiolos. To give an idea of the size of the structure, when King Dinis signed a contract in 1305 for the fortress wall to be built, it was specified that the wall should be 455.4 metres in length, 6.6m high and 2.2m thick. From the top of the hill there is a good view of the entire area and it is no wonder that King Dinis chose this spot to build his castle. Within the fortress walls was where all manner of village life existed.
This changed in the 14th century when the people began moving down to the valley where it was less windy and cold. King Ferdinand tried to induce the people to stay by granting a series of privileges, but that strategy failed.
When the Arraiolos Castle was passed into the hands of Nunos Alvares Pereira, who was granted the title of the Earl of Arraiolos, he used the castle as a base for military expeditions against the Kingdom of Castella. By the 17th century, the castle had fallen into a state of ruin. When Castelo Arraiolos was classified as a Portuguese National Monument in the 1960s, the walls were restored to its present perfect condition.
Visiting Arraiolos Castle
It is a long walk up to the castle, but it is well worth it. There are steps at the back of the two towers and you can climb up to the top for a panoramic view of Arraiolos valley. Except for the very well restored fortification walls and the 16th century Igreja do Salvador, nothing remains of Arraiolos castle.
Map of Arraiolos: