The "Cante" of the Ganhões

Who Were the Ganhões








Castro Verde A Window to the Plain

Castro Verde is in the south of Portugal, in the wide plains of the region of Beja, in the heart of what is called "Campo Branco" (White Fields). It is a region of flat lands where the eye is lost in the horizon. The soils are poor on the surfice, but rich in ore that has been explored throughout history until today. The district is crossed by the Iberian Pyritous Area, very rich in metals, and is the headquarters of the most important mining industry in the country: SOMINCOR.

Turdetans, romans and arabs left the marks of their presence here, but the most visible heritage is that of the Christians from the North and the Reconquest. According to the tradition it was in S. Pedro das Cabeças that the Battle of Ourique took place, and in the most beautiful churches of Castro Verde the tiles and oil paintings keep alive the tale of Christ's appearance before D. Afonso henriques on the eve of the famous battle. These lands were also the domains of the knights of Santiago.

Today, those who linger on the vast plain, the campo Branco, will discover a nature unmatched. It is worth visiting small villages and "montes". It is worth listening to the "cante" alentejano and the campaniça guitar. Nature lovers will enjoy here one of the richest bird areas in Portugal, classified as special protection area.

The steppes, or fallow lands, where the sheep graze originate some of the most typical products and delicacies of Castro Verde: hand-woven wool blankets, Serpa cheese, and the delicious lamb stew. All the handicraft and specialities of the region are gathered once a year in Castro Verde, in the largest market of the South. It's the great market of October or Feira de Castro that fills the village with people offers all sorts of products.

Amongst nature, past and present Castro Verde is still an image of harmony reaching for the future.

District of Castro Verde

Area: 567km2

Population: 8.000 inhabitants

Parishes: Casével, Castro Verde, Entradas, Santa Bárbara dos Padrões and São Marcos da Atabueira.

Economy: agriculture, cattle breeding, mining, services and small commerce.

Access: A2 (185km from Lisbon – 95km from Faro), IP2 (125km from Évora), EN2

Portugal / District of Beja

District of Castro Verde