10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 8.Ponte de Lima

 

Roman troops,  when marching through Portugal,  refused to cross the River Lima.   They were so bewitched that they reckoned they’d found the legendary River Lethe – famed not only for its beauty but for its ability to wipe out the memories of all who crossed it.  The captain could only persuade his men to continue after he himself went across on his own and called them by name,  thus proving that his memory was still intact!

A bridge was built which was to become part of the Roman road linking Braga with Astorga in Spain.    The present bridge,  with 31 arches,  dates mostly from the 14th century.   A few hundred years beforehand,  in 1125,  the town was granted a market charter,  establishing Portugal’s oldest market (which is still held twice monthly).  As Portugal traces its National origin to 1128 – this means that the town is actually older than the country itself!

The town is very popular with day trippers – especially at weekends.   As well as the bridge,  there are lovely riverside walks and a historic centre with cafes,  shops and churches galore!

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The Portuguese Camino de Santiago passes through the town.

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On the far side of the river stands Igreja de Santo Antonio,  covered with traditional tiles.

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Back in town,  you can enjoy the views of the river and bridge or explore the back streets and alleys.

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