Santiago do Cacém History
Excavations at Castelo Velho (Old Castle) on a hill to the east of the present
city, date human occupation of the region to pre-historic times. The settlement,
dating from the late Neolithic, was fortified by the Celts (3rd and 2nd
centuries BC) and subsequently Romanised. Under Roman occupation, Miróbriga grew
up as an agricultural and livestock centre, complete with its spas, and its
importance can be seen, for example, in its large hippodrome used for training
and horse racing. Following the Germanic invasions of the 5th century the region
lost importance, and the Moors built a new castle on a hill opposite that they
called Cacém, probably in honour of an alcalde or sheriff. The Knights Templar
took the fortress from the Moors in 1157, though they were to retake it and hold
on to it until 1217, when Christians took it for good. King Afonso II confirmed
his father's donation of the town to the Order of the Espatários or Gladiators.
Between 1310 and 1336 the castle was in the hands of queen Saint Isabel's
lady-in-waiting and friend, the Byzantine princess Vetácia. It was then handed
over to the Order of Santiago until 1594, when Filipe II donated it to the dukes
of Aveiro who held on to it until 1759 when it passed into the hands of the
Crown. King Manuel granted a charter to Santiago do Cacém in 1510.
Santiago do Cacém Description
The little country town of Santiago do Cacém occupies a commanding spot on a
hill crowned by a castle in the southern part of the Serra de Grândola,
20km/12.5mi northwest of the port of Sines. With its two pousadas it is a
convenient place to stop over from the Algarve to Lisbon when driving.
Santiago do Cacém has a blend of maritime coast, pine forest and Alentejan
inspiration. It is the country's second biggest municipality and its highest
elevation is to be found in the Cercal hills at a height of 346 meters. From
here one can see the vastness of the sea to the West. Those travelling in this
region who are interested in handicrafts can find chairs and stools made of wood
and wicker at São Bartolomeu da Serra and at São Domingos da Serra, saddlery at
Santiago do Cacém and at Cercal do Alentejo, ceramics at Santo André and Ermidas
Sado and woodwork and cork at Cercal do Alentejo.
Santiago do Cacém Map (Click Here)
Santiago do Cacém Weather
Santiago do Cacém Events
Fair of the Monte - 1st weekend of September.
Santiagro Agricultural, Livestock Fair - last weekend in May
St. Peters Fair (Cereal do Alentejo) - June 29th - 30th
New Fair (Cereal do Alentejo) - 3rd Sunday of September
All Saints fair (Cereal do Alentejo) - November 1st
Abela - July 25th and 2nd Sunday of October
Alvalade - 4th Sunday of April and July
Santo André Village - November 30th and December 1st.
São Domingos da Serra - last Sunday of May and penultimate Sunday of August
Santiago do Cacém Information
800 296 296 - Support to Tourists
112 - SOS
269 829 130 - Police
269 823 399 - Fireman
269 818 100 - Hospital
269 823 244 - Medical Centre
269 823 154 - Taxi
269 822 625 - Bus
269 826 696 / 269 826 887 - Tourist Office
269 825 153 - Corte Real
269 829 390 - Barradas
269 827 416 - Jerónimo
Santiago do Cacém Locations of Interest
A small village of typically Alentejan architecture, its parish church standing
imposing on the hill.
A village with an enchanting landscape located between Campilhas stream and the
Barragem de Campilhas
A restful stretch of calm water providing excellent conditions for canoeing,
windsurfing and angling.
Cercal do Alentejo
A town surrounded by interesting farms and estates. About 4 km away there is a
spot providing excellent views over the Atlantic and the Serra da Mina.
Archaeological station of great importance. It is thought to have been a
fortified Celtic settlement as from the 4th century BC and it was then largely
Romanised after the 1st century AD. You can visit the ruins of the Shrine to
Venus and Aesculapius, the Spa and the Hippodrome (1km away). The Baths, well
built using marble and decorated with frescoes, would have served the local
population and particularly the pilgrims visiting the Shrine. Though there is no
sure information, it is thought that as from the 4th century AD the town began
to decline gradually, in keeping with a similar process seen in other cities of
it is thought that by the time of the Moorish invasions, which here took place
about 712, the town had been abandoned, the population having moved to the
nearby hill where the medieval castle now stands.
Santo André Lagoon & Beaches
Close by the sea lies the Santo André Lagoon, an excellent place for
windsurfing. In addition to its wealth of fish, a large variety of water birds
are also to be found. Those with a love for beautiful places just to "sit and
think", can rest at will in this peaceful spot and enjoy the fish or eel stews
which, of themselves, are a promise of marvellous gastronomic holidays. Then
there are the beaches, with their fine white sands, several kilometres to stroll
São Francisco da Serra
A typical Alentejan village marked by its magnificent chimneys. The church and
the ruins of Nossa Senhora do Livramento deserve a visit.
A fortification of Moorish origin later rebuilt by the Christians. You can also
visit the chapel of St. Peter, a 16th century construction standing on the
A church of gothic origin rebuilt following the great earthquake of 1755. Don't
miss the notable Reliquary of the Holy Cross offered by the Byzantine princess
Vetácia, and the gothic low relief offered to the princess by queen Saint
The old nerve centre of the city, with its steep, narrow streets, dominated by
the Conde de Bracial Square. Located on the eastern slopes of the castle, its
architecture constitutes a priceless heritage with its typical streets and
Conde de Bracial Square
An interesting, harmonious architectural ensemble with a pillory dated 1845 and
several emblazoned houses.
The old gaol has been very well remodelled and it now houses the Municipal
Museum with its wonderful archaeological collections - from Miróbriga, such as
frescoes, in addition to other archaeological objects found by rural workers in
their fields and donated to the Museum. There is also an ethnographic section
that shows typical dwelling places of the region. You can view a common room
furnished in the style of the 19th or early 20th century; a bourgeois room of
the same period with furnishings from the old palace of the counts of Avillez;
and, in another room, the beautiful porcelain, portraits, pottery, glass and
crystal left by the family. Clothing and a rural kitchen complete these scenes
from Alentejan life.
Standing on a hill overlooking Santiago do Cecém, it was totally rebuilt by the
town council. On days with a fair wind you can see the traditional milling of
Rio de Figueira Park
A park full of attractions for children and adults, laid out on the slopes
leading up to the castle. Swimming pool, tennis courts, volleyball and badminton,
swings and roundabouts, multiple sports grounds and the pinewoods with their
jogging and exercise tracks.