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What to see in Figueira da Foz: Buarcos Fortress



Buarcos was the county seat from 1342 to 1836. From 1836 it became part of the municipality of Figueira da Foz. The Buarcos Fortress was part of a protection system for the cove between Buarcos and Figueira da Foz.

The entrance of the invading boats was defended to the north by the Fort of Buarcos, to the center by the Fort of Palheiros and to the south by the Fort of Santa Catarina.

Before the fortress of Buarcos, there were watchtowers and defensive towers in this area, at least since the time of D. Sesnando (11th century). One of them, known as the tower or Castle of Redondos is still visible today at one of the highest points of the village of Buarcos, with a wedge of a mortared stone masonry wall remaining standing.

The construction of the Buarcos Fortress probably began during the reign of King João I (1385-1433). In 1411, D. João I donated the lordship of Buarcos to his son D. Pedro, Duke of Coimbra, who added 2 bastions to the “castle” of Buarcos and provided it with artillery pieces.

D. Manuel I (1495-1521) extended the fortress against attacks by English and Dutch privateers and Barbary pirates, among others. On November 1, 1522, during the reign of King John III (1521-1557), Buarcoswas raided and pillaged by pirates, and there are references to works on its fortification.

In August 1566, during the reign of King Sebastian (1557-1578), Buarcos was raided and pillaged by English privateers. In 1595, during the Philippine Dynasty (1580-1640) the town’s lordship was donated to D. Nuno Álvares Pereira de Melo, 3rd Count of Tentúgal.

On May 25, 1602, in the Philippine Dynasty, Buarcos suffered another assault and looting by English privateers, under the command of Sir Francis Drake, and the archives of the City Hall were destroyed.

On June 29, 1629, the village of Buarcos was attacked by Dutch privateers. Because of these threats, the fortification was rebuilt between 1570 and 1602.

In 1642, during the Restoration War (1640-1668), Fernão Gomes de Quadros was ordered to build “two platforms in the fortification of Buarcos” so that artillery pieces could be added to it.

In 1643, King João IV (1640-1656) determined that the royal income from the water of the places of Tavarede, Quiaios, Figueira, Alhadas, Maiorca and Montemor should go to the fortification works of Buarcos until these were finished.

D. Pedro II (1683-1706) ordered that work on the fortification be halted and that the revenue intended for it be diverted to the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713).

The earthquake of November 1, 1755, which destroyed the Mother Church of Buarcos, caused damage to the fortress and, in 1758, the works on the walls were still unfinished. In January 1789, the sea destroyed part of the wall, putting the population at risk.

On November 9, 1833, during the Portuguese Civil War (1828-1834), the combined fire of the Buarcos wall, the Fortim de Palheiros and the Fort of Santa Catarina, prevented the attack of a corvette.

On May 8, 1834, the liberal troops, under the command of the Count of S. Vicente, landed in the cove of Buarcos. After the conflict, the wall was dismantled. The Buarcos Fort was 700 meters long and had 3 bastions: the Baluarte da Nazaré (north), the Baluarte do Rosário (center) and the Baluarte de São Pedro (south).

The old fortification was successively destroyed, including for the passage of the “American“, at the end of the 19th century, and today only a small section of its walls remains, between two bastions, parallel to the waterfront of the Buarcos beach .
The Walls of Buarcos have been classified as a building of public interest since 1961 (Decree No. 44 075, DG, I Series, No. 281, of 5-12-1961).

COSTA, Fausto Caniceiro, Monografia de Buarcos, Figueira da Foz, 1995; LARCHER, Jorge, Castelos de Portugal, Coimbra, 1935; ROCHA, António dos Santos, Materiais para a História da Figueira sec. XVII e VIII, Figueira da Foz, 1954; OLIVEIRA, Catarina, IPPAR, 2006; BORGES, José Pedro de Aboim, Figueira da foz, 1991.



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