The Castelo de Ansiães

I came across this quite magical place whilst researching a recent visit to the north of Portugal.

The castle is the centrepiece of an abandoned town on a craggy, granite mountaintop some 900 metres above sea level in the Parish of Selores in Bragança district.  It’s origin can be can be traced back to the Chalcolithic Age in the 3rd or 4th millennia BC (the time when tin was first added to copper to make bronze), later by the Romans, the Muslims and after the Christian reconquest of Iberia five Kings ruled from here. Prior to the separation that created Portugal (1128) the town was in the Spanish region of Leon.

I can only find reference to one “famous” son of Ansiães, “the valiant” Lopo Vaz de Sampan. He was the Captain of Kochi and the General-Governor of the Portuguese State in India, now Goa.

The castle is reinforced by five quadrangular towers, two of which defending the main San Salvador gate. The only preserved building is the small 12th century Romanesque church of San Salvador. Outside the castle walls is a 600 metre second wall with three square towers.  The castle occupies an area of 5.594 hectares.  The last inhabitants of old Ansiães departed in the mid-eighteenth century.

The approach is up a winding road between wild flower filled meadows. There is a small parking area beside the main gateway and the views from the top are fantastic in all directions.  In the two or three hours we spent there we saw just one other person.

All photographs taken with my iPhone 6s, passed though Perfectly Clear to improve clarity and contrast and finished off in SnapSeed 2 all on my iPad Air 2.