Castelo Branco (literally meaning “White Castle”) is situated in a wide plateau region, in the middle of two rivers.
The name Castelo Branco had its origin on an ancient hill fort inhabited by Iron Age’s tribes and Romans, and was named Albi Castrum.
The town was conquered from the Moors on the 12th century and some of its properties were donated to the Order of the Temple that defended and were responsible for the settlement of the population, hence the construction of the Castle.
Castelo Branco developed gradually over the centuries, getting more relevance.
Nowadays it maintains much of its agricultural activity , although the industrial activity is quite developed, in particular in the textiles area.
Historic town of this mountain region, Castelo Branco possesses some old manor houses, wealthy churches, wide streets and beautiful gardens. The old Guarda Bishop’s Palace, built in 1596, and its famous baroque Garden, with ponds, waterfalls, fountains and unique statuary, with the curious statues of the Spanish kings that governed Portugal for 60 years during the Spanish domination, smaller and disproportionate than the other Portuguese kings statues. In this Palace is situated the interesting Francisco Tavares Proença Junior, with several archaeological vestiges, 15th century paintings and the typical Castelo Branco’s embroideries. In fact these linen and natural silk embroideries, with an oriental inspiration, got famous in the 16th century, and its techniques are still well preserved, being one of the most important products of this region.
Also quite important is the Gastronomy of this area, quite appreciated, made with regional products, and specialized in sausages and smoked ham, Lamb meat, vegetables, egg-based sweets and pastries and the famous “Requeijão”, a special cream cheese, made with skim milk.