Almeirim is a town situated in the centre of the country, next to the river Tagus, in the Ribatejo region (“Ribatejo” literally means “above the river”), with a great agricultural inheritance all over the centuries.
The human occupation of this region dates back ages ago, with several vestiges of occupation from pre-historical periods, that have found in the big River Tagus great conditions (food, communication, irrigation, …).
Almeirim was once one of the election places for Portuguese Kings, mainly during the middle ages, mostly because of the abundance of animals and small forests, perfect for hunting. Nowadays several manor houses and small palaces attest this noble influence from the past.
Almeirim has a rich heritage from other times, like the São João Baptista Church, or the Quinta da Alorna and Casal Branco small Palaces, the Quinta de Santa Marta or the Portal in the Paço dos Negros, in Raposa, where are located the remains of the Palace from the king D. Manuel the 1st, on the 16th century.
Almeirim also possesses many Parks and Gardens, like the pleasant Republica Garden and, of course, the famous and typical Bullring (“Praça de Touros”), a highlight in the Ribatejo region, famous for its bullfights.
Probably the most important feature in Almeirim is its Famous Soup: the “Sopa da Pedra” (Stone Soup”), which according to the legend is a quite ancient recipe, brought by a monk that was travelling alone. As he was starving, he knocked at a farmer’s door and asked nothing but a pot, affirming that with the pot and a special stone he brought with him, he would make a perfect meal for them. The monk dropped a stone he brought and started cooking his special meal, already with the attention of the farmer. The monk tasted his soup and said it was delicious, but would be even better if it had some garnish to improve the flavour, and therefore the monk starts asking for more and more ingredients and seasonings, to make this “simple” and special soup. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all. In the end, the monk left the village, carrying his special stone with him.
In Almeirim there are several restaurants serving this tasty “special” soup, made with fresh vegetables from this agricultural region.
Also quite famous in Almeirim are the wines of the region, as well as various sorts of sausages and smoked ham, and fresh melon.