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The Lord of the Castles: the story of D. Sesnando

Coimbra. City of students, of the university, of love, of the Mondego river… and city of the castles. If you didn’t have time to find out more about Coimbra before visiting it, you may not know that the city and its surroundings are home to several castles of great historical importance.

We have, obviously, the remains of what once was the castle of Coimbra and the city wall. Its origin dates back to the 11th century and to Sesnando Davides, the brilliant nobleman who ruled the city after the reconquest of the territory from the Muslims, a mission led by Ferdinand I in 1064. D. Sesnando became known as the lord of the castles of the Mondego and was responsible for the construction and reconstruction of structures like the Castle of Lousã (or Arouce Castle, built in 1080), the Castle of Montemor-o-Velho (built in the 9th century and rebuilt by D. Sesnando), the Castle of Penacova (it no longer exists, but there are several historical references to a small castle connected to the nobleman) and the Castle of Penela (rebuilt in 1965 at the behest of D. Sesnando).

D. Sesnando’s work lives on, but the character is often overlooked. That is why the University of Coimbra is promoting the international conference “Coimbra, Open City: Celebrating 950 years of the reign of D. Sesnando”. The event takes place on 23rd and 24th October at the University of Coimbra (Auditório da Reitoria) and will remind the public about the valuable contribution of this Mozarab who became ownerof numerous territories in Coimbra and feudal lord of the city.

D. Sesnando ruled Coimbra for nearly three decades and was responsible not only for the castles and the defense of the territory, but also for its reorganization. The nobleman turned Coimbra into an important economic and commercial center, as well as a place that promoted the Mozarabic culture in a unique way. Today his tomb can be visited at the Sé Velha, but “his” castles are still scattered around the region: a symbol of his enormous dedication to the historical city that welcomed him 950 years ago.

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Hotel Oslo - Coimbra
Av. Fernão de Magalhães, 25
3000-175 Coimbra, Portugal
Tel. +351 239 829 071
Fax. +351 239 820 614
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