Eastern Way

Estremoz < > Sousel

Stage 12

A village of great historical interest of the Middle Ages, Sousel is a true municipality with history, the same that helps to explain the origins of its name, shrouded in great controversy. For many, the origin is in the phrase pronounced by D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, the kingdom’s constable at the time of D. João I – “Ora Sus a Ell” – in 1834, in prayer during the battle to defend against the Castilians. For others, the name comes from the fennel Seseli, which grows wild in the local fields.Documented since the mid-13th century, the tradition pointing to D. Nuno Álvares Pereira as the founder of the locality is nevertheless fictitious.

The town became the county seat in the 17th century, date of the pillory construction whose current location does not correspond to the original. It intended to slightly imitate the Manueline pillories, through an octagonal shaft, rings, with a pine coneshaped end. It is known that, in 1940, the pillory of Sousel was dismantled and was later rebuilt, reusing original elements.According to legend, Sousel was once plagued by a major epidemic. The population, desperate, prayed to St Sebastian and, soon after, the epidemic ceased. Grateful, the inhabitants of Sousel built a chapel in honor of St Sebastian and the image of the saint became the dominant figure in the municipal heraldry. Even today, in the hall of the city council, there is a bas-relief with St Sebastian figure, and the main celebration was also celebrated on January 20, the saint day. This historical background has been lost since long ago, and even the municipal heraldry has changed.

But the discreet Capela de São Sebastião, far from the historic center and composed only of a single nave and main chapel, remains an identity element of Sousel’s heritage. D. Nuno is once again mentioned when we refer to Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Ourada, which, according to tradition, was built in the exact place where Nuno Álvares Pereira would have gathered in prayer, before the Atoleiros Battle, held near Sousel, as indicated by an inscription from the 17th century. Another tradition admits that Sousel’s foundation was due to D. João I’s Constable, a fact that doesn’t correspond to reality, but was portrayed in the azulejo cycle applied to the nave of the church. The temple is still of Gothic construction, but from this first foundational only remains part of the choir’s vault. The temple’s current appearance dates back to an extensive renovation carried out in the 18th century, from which the main altarpiece, the marble pulpit and, in particular, the blue and white azulejo panels are also due.

The church is still of Gothic construction, but only part of the choir vault remains from that first foundation. The temple’s current appearance dates back to an extensive renovation carried out in the 18th century, to which we also owe the main altarpiece, the marble pulpit and, in particular, the blue and white tile panels.

Antigo Mosteiro de Eremitas de São Paulo

Ancient Monastery of St Paul’s Hermits
The convent of Santo António was founded in 1605, from a hermitage dedicated to that saint, which was managed by a local confraternity. The monks of Azambujeira Convent (Avis), in the meantime closed by order of the General Chapter of the Order of St. Paul, moved there. The current complex dates back to a reform carried out in the first half of the 18th century when not only a new church was conceived, but also the temple was filled with gilded wood carvings, mural paintings, and azulejo tiles, thus contributing to one of the most important elements of the built heritage of Sousel. The main chapel’s azulejo panels depicting episodes of the life of St Paul Hermit stand out.

and also…

Mediterranean Flavours Festival − May
Cattle Benediction and White Cake Feast − May
Festivities in Honnor of Nossa Sr.ª da Orada − August

Museum of Christs
The purpose of the Christs Museum Project is to study, research, document, conserve, interpret and disseminate the collection of sacred art that is part of its archive. Its mission is to cover scientific, cultural, educational and recreational objectives, aiming at the democratization of culture, the promotion of citizenship and the development of society.The museological project is based on the collection of Christ images, consisting of 1486 pieces, mostly crucifixes of the most varied types, origins, and epochs. This collection was acquired by the Municipality of Sousel, on February 19, 1990, to the Lobo family, heirs of the late Venceslau Lobo, from Borba. Over the years, the collection was grouped by the antique dealer himself and exhibited to the public in a warehouse in Borba, which he called “Museu dos Cristos”.

The reference point for the exit of Estremoz is the way behind the supermarket, located next to the last roundabout on road N18/IP2 towards Portalegre. However, before that, it is worth visiting the Palácio da Quinta D. Maria, producer of the wines with the same name, with access on the left, just before the roundabout.

We enter looking for history and flavors, and we won’t be disappointed. After 2 km, we access the road that comes from Quinta D. Maria and pass by Monte da Granja, a welcoming rural tourism area. A few hundred metres ahead, we detour to the side road on the left, up to the old railway line, which we will meet several times during today’s stage. One day, which we hope will come soon, this line may be transformed into an ecopath that will have the best route between Estremoz and Sousel.

We continue to the Silveirona site, turning left towards Monte do Marmeleiro, indicated by the sign. The road covers 4 km and ends at the edge of small hills, turning right to climb the mountain, already in a dirt track.

At the top, we have a good panoramic view of the surrounding region, after which we continue down the northern slope towards the Cardeal site, a town near the border separating the Central Alentejo from the region we are heading towards, the municipality of Sousel, already in Alto (High) Alentejo.

Through hills and farms, we progress in the valley until we reach Sousel, where we enter through Rua do Parreiral. To note, as a curiosity about Santiago, on Rua de São Pedro we find a house in an advanced state of degradation that has on its façade two scallops topped by two swords or staves, in a style similar to that also found in Salamanca. It is commonly said that it is and old hostel designed to receive pilgrims.

The stage was short so, at the Tourism Office, we try to collect all the interest information that allows us to enjoy Sousel resources, and use the opportunity to discover its heritage.


Always carry water, supplies, sunscreen, a hat, waterproof, comfortable shoes, and a map.


 Bank/Cash Dispenser

 Sousel Tourism Office

 Táxis José Delfino Lda +351 268 539 231

Public Entities

 Sousel City Council
+351 268 550 100

 Sousel Parish Council
+351 268 551 220


 Health Center/Hospital
+351 268 550 160


Points of Interest

 Sousel Pillory

 Santo António Convent Church, also called Paulistas Convent also called Paulistas Convent Church Sousel

 Sousel Main Church

 Nossa Senhora da Orada Church

 Camões Tower, aqueduct and tanksand tanks


Emergency: 112
Forest Fires: 117
Fire Department: +351 268 550 030
GNR Sousel − National Republican Guard:+351 268 554 229


Do not leave the marked and signaled route. Do not approach cliffs. Pay attention to the markings. Do not dispose of organic or inorganic waste during the trail, take a bag for this purpose. If you see garbage, collect it, help us to keep the Paths clean. Beware of livestock, don’t bother the animals. Leave Nature intact. Do not collect plants, animals or rocks. Avoid making noise. Respect private property, close gates and barriers. Don’t light fires and be careful with cigarettes. Do not vandalize the Paths signage.