One of the biggest and most well preserved militay structures in Europe is the Fortress located in Valença, Portugal.
The “Fortaleza de Valença” (Valença Fortress), placed on top of two hills, is a peace of Gothic and Baroque military architecture dated from the 13th century. The present bulwark system was built later on, during the 17th and the 18th centuries.
The fortification is formed by two polygons, the “Recinto Magistral” (Magisterial Enclosure) and the “Coroada” (Crown), separated by a moat.
The main entrance is “Portas do Sol” (The Sun Doors), which was damaged during the Napoleonic invasions. In addition to this entrance there’s the “Coroada”, the “Gaviarra”, and the “Fonte da Vila”.
Inside the Fortress we find several monuments, such as the “Igreja de Santa Maria dos Anjos e Capela da Misericórdia” (Saint Maria dos Anjos Mother Church and Misericórdia Chapel), a Romanesque temple dated from 1276; the “Igreja da Colegiada de Santo Estevão” (Colegiada’s Church), a Romanesque church dated from 1283; the “Capela Militar do Bom Jesus” (Bom Jesus Military Chapel) that is an example of Baroque and Neoclassical architectures; and the “Fonte da Vila” (Town’s Fountain).
The Fortress is nowadays home to several textile shops, restaurants and to “Pousada de São Teotónio”, a luxurious hotel.
Valença Fortress offers stuning views of Minho River and Galicia. From there we can see the Galician city of Tui.
Visit this website to get the map of Valença Fortress