Alcacer do Sal Tourist Attractions
The ancient little town of Alcácer do Sal ("castle of salt"), the Roman Salacia, lies above the right bank of the Rio Sado, which here opens out into a wide estuary. The banks of the river are lined with the salt-pans which have given the town its name. A number of fine old buildings bear witness to the town's earlier prosperity, achieved from medieval times onwards by its flourishing trade in salt and corn, and the growing of rice in the warm low lying marshland along the river, a crop that has increased in importance since recent decades have seen many of the salt-pans around the town abandoned.
Above the town the ruins of the castle, still ringed round by its walls, afford fine views of the town and river.
Igreja de Santa Maria
The Romanesque church of Santa Maria next to the Castelo dates from the 12th/13th C. and has a Renaissance doorway to the Chapel of the Sacrament and beautiful 17th C. tile decoration.
To the north of the town center is the former Convent of Santo António (16th C.), which also has an impressive Renaissance doorway, as well as lavish marble decoration in the Chapel of the 11,000 Virgins (16th C.).
Near the Town Hall, which stands on the riverbank and houses the tourist information center, is the former church do Espírito Santo (Manueline window) containing the town museum, the Museu Municipal, with Stone Age and Roman material, relics of the Moorish period and coins.
Santuário do Senhor dos Mártires
The Romanesque and Gothic church do Senhor dos Mártires (13th/14th C.) on the western edge of town contains the stone sarcophagus of Diogo de Pereira (1427) who, as Grand Master of the Knights of Sao Tiago, played a crucial role in recapturing the city from the Moors (1217).
Located on the banks of the Barragem de Vale de Gaio reservoir some 30km/19mi southeast of Alcácer do Sal, Torrao is the birthplace of Bernardim Ribeiro (c. 1482-C. 1552), famous for his poem "Saudades", published in 1554, probably posthumously. The Manueline church contains 17th C. azulejo tiling.
The little country town of Grândola alt. 95m/312ft; pop. 5,500) 23km/ 14mi south of Alcácer do Sal is an important center for the Portuguese cork industry. It is also the town that featured in the song that in April 1974 heralded the "Carnation Revolution"